As President-elect Joe Biden‘s top Cabinet nominees trudge through their Senate confirmation hearings before he becomes president in less than 24 hours, his pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Alejandro Mayorkas, is facing scrutiny for reported favoritism in expediting green cards for wealthy foreign nationals.
Until 2013, Mayorkas served as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security until 2016.
A 2015 report from the Office of Inspector General (OIG) said that, while heading USCIS, Mayorkas had intervened to help expedite visa requests for wealthy foreign investors in instance relating to the EB-5 visa program.
The OIG, however, found that Mayorkas did not break any laws.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) argued Tuesday that Mayorkas reportedly speeding up the green card process for Chinese nationals is “disqualifying.”
In a clip from a Fox News interview that the senator shared, Cotton says Mayorkas “was found by Barack Obama’s inspector general to be guilty of selling green cards to Chinese nationals, on behalf of rich Democratic donors. Think about that. Selling citizenship to well-connected Chinese nationals on behalf of Democratic Party donors. That is disqualifying.”
In three different instances regarding the EB-5 visa program, which lets foreign nationals invest at least $900,000 in U.S. development projects to be granted green cards, staffers were worried by Mayorkas’ behavior, according to the 2015 OIG report.
Moreover, the report stated that employees were concerned that Mayorkas was giving special treatment to Democrat-linked investors, according to The New York Post the week after Biden announced the DHS nominee.
The report specifically mentions that Mayorkas intervened to help investors with links to former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D), former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), and Anthony Rodham, the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, The Post noted.
“I do regret the perceptions that my activities created and I take responsibility for those perceptions,” Mayorkas said during a 2015 House Homeland Security Committee hearing when asked about the report.
“I did not let errors go unchecked, but instead helped ensure that those cases were decided correctly, nothing more and nothing less,” he added.
If the U.S. Senate confirms Mayorkas, he would be the first immigrant to ever serve as homeland security secretary. Born in Havana, Cuba, Mayorkas and his family fled to the United States shortly after he was born.
You can follow Douglas Braff on Twitter @Douglas_P_Braff.
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Biden to lift sanctions on China in exchange for third promise to combat fentanyl
Reportedly President Joe Biden is making deals with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help improve anti-drug trafficking measures. China is one of the top fentanyl producers and distributors, culminating in a pandemic of fentanyl overdoses and deaths in the United States.
The Biden administration will be lifting sanctions on a Chinese government ministry, in exchange for bolstering anti-drug trafficking measures, Bloomberg reported. “We’re hoping to see some progress on that issue this coming week,” National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Monday, according to the New York Post. “That could then open the door to further cooperation on other issues where we aren’t just managing things, but we’re actually delivering tangible results.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation noted that should a deal materialize, it will be at least the third time that China has promised to get tough on fentanyl. In 2016, China agreed to increase counter-narcotics operations, and Xi again agreed to launch a crackdown in 2018. Nonetheless, China and Mexico are “the primary source countries for fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked directly into the United States,” according to a 2020 DEA intelligence report.
“China remains the primary source of fentanyl and fentanyl-related substances trafficked through international mail and express consignment operations environment, as well as the main source for all fentanyl-related substances trafficked into the United States.”
President Joe Biden and Xi are meeting for the first time in over a year during this week’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco. Sources familiar with the situation told Bloomberg that the People’s Republic of China (PRC) will crack down on Chinese companies manufacturing chemical precursors for fentanyl in exchange for the U.S. lifting sanctions on the Ministry of Public Security’s Institute of Forensic Science, which the Commerce Department added to the Entity List in 2020 for “engaging in human rights violations and abuses” in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
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