A Texas nonprofit is suing the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, accusing the federal government of improperly approving an immigration-funded project in South Texas.
The lawsuit — naming DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson and Leon Rodriguez, director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as defendants — asserts that a hotel-convention center venture in Laredo should not receive discounted funds via the EB-5 visa-investor program.
The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Brownsville by Urban Equality NOW, which tracks economic development policies and projects.
Under EB-5 rules, foreign nationals can obtain U.S. green cards by investing $500,000 in job-creating projects located in Targeted Employment Zones plagued by high jobless rates. But the hotel’s census tract has an unemployment level of just 1.4 percent.
To meet the TEA threshold, the developer strung together 190 economically stressed census tracts in what the lawsuit calls “gerrymandering.”
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