The United States is famous for its strong democracy and the various rights and freedoms its people enjoy. Nearly half of the world’s countries operate under authoritarian or semi-authoritarian regimes, and many of the countries with democracy face flaws with their political system, which leaves the United States as a shining beacon of hope in the minds of many. Many of those living under the boot of an authoritarian government yearn for a life of freedom as offered by the United States, and that desire fuels a large portion of EB-5 investments. While EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program stakeholders tend to focus on economic and practical benefits of a life in the United States, the freedom and rights of U.S. democracy are an equally important consideration behind many EB5 investments.
Let’s take a look through some of the most important freedoms and rights in the United States.
Freedom of Speech
Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and is arguably the most important freedom to U.S. democracy. In many countries, individuals and journalists alike can be punished by the government for criticizing government policy or (in)action, sometimes facing incarceration or even death. The United States is different. If a foreign national makes a successful EB-5 investment, they can enjoy the freedom to say anything they wish without fear of governmental repercussions. U.S. media has the same right to criticize the government with impunity and does so regularly.
Freedom of Religion
Though Christianity of various denominations is the most commonly practiced religion in the United States, there is no official state religion, and the nation is home to practitioners of all sorts of religions. Many Jewish people, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, agnostics, atheists, and others live peacefully in the United States, enjoying the right to practice their faith freely and preach it to others.
The Bill of Rights goes further than just enshrining religious freedom—it also prescribes the separation of church and state, prohibiting the U.S. government from establishing a state religion. In various countries around the world, religious minorities can find themselves persecuted and oppressed and could be arrested or killed for practicing the wrong religion or not practicing the state religion. Those desiring religious freedom should consider, if they have the means, making an EB5 investment as a relatively quick and easy pathway to permanent residency in the United States.
Right to Peaceably Assemble
The right to vote in elections is reserved only for citizens of the United States, in line with most other countries. However, in the United States, voting isn’t the only way to participate in democracy. Unlike in many countries, where governments crack down harshly on peaceful protesters, throwing them in jail indiscriminately or even killing them, the United States celebrates peaceful protest as a powerful means to positive change. Throughout U.S. history are numerous cases of peaceful protest inspiring significant policy changes, and everyone in the United States—citizen or not—is welcome to participate in or organize peaceful protests.
Similarly, U.S. government representatives answer to all constituents, even those without citizenship, so even temporary residents should feel free to reach out to their representative with any concerns. The U.S. political system is ever-evolving to better meet the needs of its diverse population, and everyone has a voice in this system. While the economic landscape of the United States is always a nice draw, the freedom to participate in politics is an equally legitimate motivation to make an EB-5 investment.
A Strong, Fair Legal System
The U.S. legal system prides itself on its fairness, guaranteeing rights even to those who are charged with a crime. Under U.S. law, anyone charged with a crime is considered innocent until proven guilty, and no one can be convicted and sentenced without a fair legal process. Those who do not have the means to hire a criminal lawyer will be provided one for free by the state, allowing everyone access to professional legal assistance in arguing their case. Criminal verdicts are determined by a jury of a defendant’s peers, not the government, ensuring maximal fairness.
People making EB5 investments to come to the United States probably won’t ever have to exercise these rights, but knowing a strong, fair legal system is in place to deliver justice and protect those who live in the United States may be a comforting thought for many, especially those from countries with corrupt justice systems that bow to the government.
Strong Civil Courts
The U.S. legal system extends beyond criminal justice. Civil courts across the United States settle disputes between individuals, businesses, institutions, and more, affording involved parties the same rights as in criminal justice cases. This system allows entities to push back against actions that have caused damages, whether monetary, psychological, or otherwise, and offers individuals or small businesses recourse to fight huge corporations or institutions. Though some may joke about the amount of litigation filed in U.S. courts, in truth, civil courts help protect individuals and small entities from abuse by larger, more influential entities. In fact, EB-5 investment participants often make use of this option when faced with abuse from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), such as in the famous case of Zhang vs. UCSIS.
America: Land of the Free
For those from authoritarian countries who must bow down to the government in all aspects of their lives, the United States can seem like paradise. The strong economy of the United States is only one part of the story—the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution are the underpinnings of the nation’s success. With an EB5 investment, foreign nationals the world over can claim a slice of the American life, enjoying the rights and freedoms that make the United States so great.