Jim Hayes, manager of the Texas Redevelopment Authority, LLC gave a presentation to the commissioners court of “a federal program that’s really too logical; it involves no taxpayer money. It creates American jobs using private capital.”

The EB5 job creation program, administered under the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) was designed to create funding and management for the redevelopment and restoration of the areas of Southeast Texas devastated by Hurricane Ike.

People wishing to legally immigrate to the United States can invest in businesses and obtain a permanent green card visa. Ten permanent American jobs must be created for each foreign applicant.

Texas Redevelopment Authority, a private company, was designated as a regional center for the program on Oct. 12. Members of the company represent over 300 years of experience in buying, management, development, and running various sorts of businesses. They are now authorized by the USCIS to accept private funds. “Our first fund is targeted to be $100 million, it may go over that,” said Hayes.

The program should create as many as 2,500-2,600 jobs. In existence since the early 1990’s, the program allows for 10,000 permanent green card visas to be issued annually. From inception to 2008, less than a thousand applicants were received. In 2009, almost four thousand were processed.

“Every program and every fund we produce is vetted and approved by the USCIS,” said Hayes. The USCIS is a division of Homeland Security.

In other business, the commissioners approved purchase of at 2011 Ford F150 Supercrew and one 2011 Ford Escape XLS at a cost of $40,614 from David Self Ford. Philpott had a lower bid of $39,675, but commissioners have the authority to take a higher bid is there is less than three percent difference in the bids. The court chose to award the sale to David Self because he is located in and pays taxes to Orange County.

The sheriff’s department was also authorized to purchase two Yamaha ATV’s at $17,622.70 which will be paid for with drug seizure money and is no cost to the county.

The court also approved expanding the upcoming surplus auction scheduled for Friday, Dec. 3 to also be held at CSI Supply.

Although it rained this week, the driest part of the county had received none by the time of commissioners court, so the burn ban is still in effect.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.