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If Nothing Else, City Council Members Now Have One More Reason to Travel Abroad

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The city council's Economic Development Committee was first briefed on the subject one year ago: "Attracting Foreign Investment as Part of Dallas' Economic Growth Strategy: The EB-5 Program." Long story short: Per the Immigration Act of 1990, foreign investors who sink at least $1 million into U.S. soil and create at least 10 full-time jobs (for U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents) get two-year green cards that will lead, most likely, to permanent residency. In '93, the government allowed for the creation of "regional centers," which would more or less look over the shoulders of investors on behalf of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversee the whole shebang.

This morning, City Hall sent word that one year after that initial briefing, Dallas now has a regional center -- which appears to be the first publicly run Immigrant Investor Regional Center in the state, according to the U.S.C.I.S.'s list. There are only three such regional centers in all of Texas, one of which, South West Biofuel RC, is actually based in Los Angeles but serves Northwest Texas. And one is specifically aimed toward creating jobs in downtown Houston ... near the convention center hotel.

In the press release, Economic Development Committee chair Ron Natinsky says the creation of the City of Dallas Regional Center "provides us with a powerful incentive in our efforts to attract foreign investment. The program is structured specifically to attract high net worth investors to the CDRC; and focus their capital on projects that generate real permanent jobs and growth for Dallas." Among the possible uses for the foreign dough, per the release: "transit-oriented development, instrument manufacturing, distribution and logistics, entertainment venues, hospitality, healthcare and medical research and 'green' development."

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