The sprawling "Chinese city" a group of billionaires want to build in upstate New York could be a way for wealthy Asians to quickly buy their way into residency in the United States, according to David North, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
A group of Chinese investors headed by a businesswoman wants to construct "China City of America" in the town of Thompson in New York’s Catskills region. It would cover 600 acres — about three square miles — at a cost of $6 billion.
"Lots and lots of people would live there and there would be a theme park and a college and a high school," North told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"It relates to a program, which I'm not very fond of — the immigrant investor program. If an alien puts half a million dollars into one of these programs that have been approved by the government, you get a visa.
"Not only do you get a visa, your spouse and your kids get visas too. So it's a whole bunch of visas for half a million dollars … I don't think you should sell visas for anything."
North, whose group is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit, research organization, also fears the city could become a refuge for spies.
"Here's a technique for coming into the United States without scrutiny. All you do is put up half a million dollars," North said.
Some Catskills residents believe the project — which might also feature a casino — would help boost the economically depressed region.
But others worry about the impact on what is now pristine wilderness.
The project is currently being considered by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
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