Republican lawmakers with jurisdiction over Department of Homeland Security activities are angry at the findings of a DHS Inspector General report which uncovered political favoritism in the processing of EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program visas by one of the agency’s top officials.
An inspector general report on Tuesday criticized Alejandro Mayorkas, then-Director of USCIS and current Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The report looked at three instances in which Mayorkas was alleged to have exerted undue influence on the processing and adjudication of Employment-Based Fifth Preference (EB-5) program benefits for the politically connected, including Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), now- governor of Virginia Terry McAuliffe, and Anthony Rodham — the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Digging into the report and reading about specific cases, you can see just how questionable Mr. Mayorkas’ ethics and judgement were. And, just as bad, is the blind eye that the Obama administration turned when elevating this individual to the number two slot at the Department of Homeland Security,” Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley (R-IA) said.
He noted that the “sheer number of whistle-blowers who came forward is a darn good indication as to how bad things were at the agency.”
Despite the damning report, DHS Sec. Jeh Johnson on Tuesday said he continues “to have full confidence in Ali Mayorkas” but offered changes to the EB-5 program.
According to the Republican lawmakers, Mayorkas should be held accountable.
“Such an abuse of authority is inexcusable and creates a crisis of confidence in Deputy Director Mayorkas’ ability to lead the Department impartially,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) said in reaction to the report. “President Obama should take the appropriate steps to hold him accountable for his actions.”
He added that his committee would continue to investigate the matter.
House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX) called the findings “extremely troubling.”
“These allegations appear to be at odds with USCIS’s expressed mission to ‘administer the nation’s immigration system fairly, honestly and correctly,’” he said, adding the committee will continue to probe the matter at an upcoming hearing.
Grassley further questioned why Mayorkas’ elevation to deputy DHS secretary was allowed prior to the report being issued.
“The IG’s findings are very serious, especially given the role Mr. Mayorkas now plays in the department,” he said. “It’s a mystery as to why the former Senate majority allowed the nomination to move forward without waiting for this report to be completed. The President and Secretary Johnson need to take action to hold him accountable.”