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Foreign-visa program provided Garcia a cause in Congress — and a job out of it

002 Joe Garcia DS

As a member of Congress, Joe Garcia championed immigration visas that allow wealthy foreigners to obtain U.S. residency if they pledge at least $500,000 to job-creating projects within the nation’s borders.

According to one analysis, Garcia became the biggest beneficiary in Congress of donations from bankers and developers eager to expand the visa program, known as EB-5.

When the Miami Democrat was ousted from Congress after a single term, Garcia took a job as senior vice president for a private Miami Beach bank named QueensFort Capital that specializes in matching foreign investors to EB-5 visa projects.

Though not illegal or improper, the relationship illustrates the revolving door that often exists in Congress: As a lawmaker, Garcia worked on EB-5 legislation. He then worked for an EB-5 bank. Now he’s again running for Congress, where he might write EB-5 rules that would affect his former employer.

Garcia told the Miami Herald he got the bank job because he could leverage his local connections and not because he filed legislation in March 2014 to expand the EB-5 program.

“This was a job because I knew a lot of people in South Florida,” said Garcia, whose legislation didn’t pass. “The whole point was because of my relations. It was not because of my EB-5 expertise.”

More here.

Photo credit: David Santiago, el Nuevo Herald