Mr. LARSEN of Washington. Mr. Chair, last year I introduced H.R. 2972, the Creating American Jobs Through Foreign Capital Act. This legislation seeks to permanently reauthorize the EB 5 program. The EB 5 program allows qualified foreign investors who create or save at least 10 full-time American jobs by making major investments in U.S. businesses to seek U.S. visas. The program, first established in 1990, has been continued as a short-term pilot program.
Last year the program created or saved more than 25,000 American jobs and generated $1.25 billion in investment, according to the Association to Invest In the USA. For example, in the Second Congressional District in Washington state, this program has created least 800 jobs in Whatcom County alone. The EB 5 program is one of more than 20 immigrant investor programs around the world that are competing for capital investment. In the Asia-Pacific region, programs like EB 5 exist in Hong Kong, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Canada. As the United States more strongly embraces our role as an Asia-Pacific nation and looks to create jobs through exports to the region, we are competing with these countries, and many more around the world, for these investment dollars.
I am pleased that the Senate has included a two-year reauthorization of this program in Section 554 of its Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The Senate report highlighted that since its inception of this program in 1990 through 2011, USCIS estimates that a minimum of 43,280 jobs have been created and more than $2,200,000,000 has been invested through the EB 5 program. Our economy cannot afford to do without these investments or these jobs.
I want to thank Chairman ADERHOLT and Ranking Member PRICE for working with me on this issue. And, even though this reauthorization is not included in the House bill, I would like to thank the Subcommittee as a whole for understanding the importance of this language and this reauthorization and I urge you to preserve the Senate reauthorization during conference committee.