The family of farmers currently live in Minnesota and have done since 2001 after migrating to the US with an investor visa. Now, due to the two sons in the family turning 21, they must return to the Netherlands, leaving the future of the family farm in doubt.
Translation by Thomas Ansell
In 2001, the Mulder family from Friesland took the opportunity of utilising an EB-5 Investor Visa to purchase a dairy farm in the American state of Minnesota. The investor visa has to be renewed every five years for the recipient and any family members (dependents).
As the father of the family, Kor Mulder, explained to Omrop Frylsan, the investor visa has to be renewed every five years. However, as the family’s two sons moved to the US as toddlers, they were considered dependents under their parents until the age of 21. After turning 21, they no longer had recourse to stay in the United States under the EB-5 Visa law. One son who turned 21 last year has already returned to Friesland, and the family’s second son will turn 21 this year, at which point he will also have to return.
Selling the farm
Neither son can apply for American citizenship, so they have to stop working on their parents’ farm and return to the country of their birth. Both of the sons worked full time on the farm, which makes it almost certain that the family farm will have to close due to a lack of staff. Since 2001, the Mulder Farm grew from a handful of cows to around 340 cows, of which 170 produce milk. The nature of the farm has made it difficult to hire any additional farm staff, and the family expects that they will have to sell it, but the Mulders have yet to make back the money from their initial investment.
The Mulder family has been fighting to reverse the decision: they have met with lobbyists at the State Capitol and in Washington. A petition suggesting that the Mulders are “losing the American dream” has attracted nearly 38,000 signatures as of Friday. Mulder says that his family is just one of many in a similar legal position and says that his family wants to raise this issue on behalf of everyone in a comparable situation.
The Immigrant Investor Programme(EB-5) was created in 1990 to enable foreign investors to either create “new commercial enterprise” or invest in “a troubled business”. Up to 10,000 EB-5 visas are granted annually, and they require a capital investment of either 500,000 dollars or one million dollars, depending on the unemployment rate and rural or urban nature of the location of the business.
Photo source: Change.org