Investigation: Suspected Criminals, Spies, Terrorists Buying Their Way Into the US?

Documents show government agents concerned immigration program could be exploited.
6:34 | 02/04/15

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Transcript for Investigation: Suspected Criminals, Spies, Terrorists Buying Their Way Into the US?
Did you know that your government runs a program that allows foreign citizens who cough up $500,000 to get a Visa that could lead to a green card? Defenders say this could create American jobs, but is this little-known program also letting in terrorists and spies? Here's ABC's chief investigative correspondent Brian Ross for our series, "Nightline" investigates. Reporter: Fireworks over las Vegas, at the star-studded grand opening of the new hot and casino, the sls. It's one of a growing nun of major projects in this country built thanks to money from foreign investors who have been well-rewarded for their investment, under a little known federal program called ez 5. They receive a Siva sore green card with investment of $500,000 that creates American jobs, essentially, to critics, a $500,000 green card. We believe the eb-5 program is nothing more than selling green cards. Reporter: It is widely advertised overseas. From Russia to Iran to China, where this promotional video makes no effort to hide the fact that $500,000 is all it takes to buy your way into the U.S. Yes, you can! Reporter: But money talks, encourages jobs and the eb-5 program is also credited with helping to build a New York sports arena, a Vermont water park, and a Hollywood movie company. And even finance FBI office buildings. I think the program absolutely is working. Reporter: Peter Joseph is the executive director of a Washington trade association representing the burgeoning eb-5 industry. Some have said this is a way to buy immigration service, buying a Visa, is that what this is? Not at all. Capital is going to communities all around the country needed to create jobs. Reporter: But hundreds of documents reveal a very dark side of the program. In a 2013 report being made public for the first time tonight, more than 30 of the eb-5 projects were described as under investigation for narcotics trafficking, money laundering, fraud, and other national security concerns. Is. We want jobs in America, but we want the people coming to America to be legitimate business people. Reporter: Senator Charles grassley says the program designed to attract foreign investors has also become a mag magnet for people suspected of serious crimes. It's something that's got to be exposed. Reporter: Many of the eb-5 applicants are coming from China. One eb-5 group in China now under investigation even tried to sign up as a consultant, president Obama's half brother mark. I told them I'm out of this. Reporter: They wanted to take advantage of you and your name. Yes. Reporter: If you hadn't left you'd be in the middle of a FBI investigation. Of course, of course. Reporter: In the case of the hotel and casino in Las Vegas, hundreds got Visas. Sls says its own background checks turned up no evidence of any wrongdoing by its foreign investors, about according to documents, one applicant with ties to child pornography was approved. It is shocking, raising questions, but particularly, when you have FBI and other law enforcement agencies saying that national security could be compromised or is being compromised, that's enough for us to be concerned about. Reporter: By far, the most serious national security concerns involve Iran's corps. And whether they could be infiltrating the United States. U.s. Officials say they are now investigating. This southern California shipping company, American logistics international. Investigators say the company's president, an Iranian born man has helped bring dozens to America under the eb-5 program even as he and his company were under investigation for illegal smuggling to Iran. His lawyer says neither he nor his company are involved in any terrorist or illegal export activity. But a one-time business associate of him has already been convicted of illegal shipments to Iran and according to government documents is associated with a network involved in a series of international assassination and terrorism operations. In is a big hole for people to get into the country. Reporter: Some blame this man for bowing to the program. I will tell you theallegations are unequivocally false. Reporter: But it was not something that he or his press secretary wanted to talk about. Mr. Secretary, you've not answered our questions, and I'd like to know why that is. Senator grassley says that you were bowing to pressure. He cannot answer these questions, sir? But now we are getting some answers. In a statement homeland security says they have cut off applicants for the eb-5 program under Los Angeles under vision for ties to Iran and homeland security secretary jay Johnson told reporters today he's looking for ways to make sure the program is much more secure. So there may be some changes. Brian Ross on the case. Thank you, Brian.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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