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Sen. Cotton argues Biden’s DHS pick reportedly giving green cards to Chinese nationals is ‘disqualifying’

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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.

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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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New documents show China trying to establish ‘satellite state’ in Caribbean

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China has been “exploiting a fragile security environment and taking advantage of the region’s need for economic investment to gain influence and advance its malign agenda” in a move that challenges U.S. hegemony in the Americas, U.S. Southern Command Comm. General Laura Richardson recently told Congress in written testimony.

The Caribbean island nation of Antigua and Barbuda, located about 220 miles from the U.S. Virgin Islands, is where China is planning to establish a special Chinese-run economic zone, according to documents reviewed by Newsweek

Just The News  reports that per the documents, the area will have its own customs and immigration facilities, a shipping port and it will even issue passports. China will also establish different kinds of businesses that will specialize in things from facial surgery to virology, the latter of which is closely associated with the research in Wuhan that is the suspected source of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A spokesperson for SOUTHCOM said that the U.S. military is “aware that China may use its commercial and diplomatic presence for military purposes. In Asia, Africa and the Middle East, China has already abused commercial agreements at host-country ports for military aims; our concern is they may do the same in this region.”

More than two-thirds of the 31 nations under SOUTHCOM’s responsibility have signed onto China’s belt-and-road initiative, which is Beijing’s program to lend money to developing nations to use for infrastructure projects, according to Just The News.

Several nations have had problems with repaying such loans, resulting in Beijing seizing the country’s assets. For example, Sri Lanka struggled to pay back Beijing in 2017 and instead signed off the rights to a strategic port, according to Foreign Policy.

Rep. Eric Burlison, R-Mo., a member of the House Oversight Committee proving China’s incursion inside the U.S. sphere of influence, told Just the News on Monday night that Beijing’s aggression in the Caribbean reminded him of the Soviet’s intervention in Fidel Castro’s Cuba more than a half century earlier.

“It reminds me of Russia’s involvement in Cuba, just 220 miles off the shore of the US Virgin Islands. We have Antigua. It used to be considered the United States back yard. Unfortunately, today, it’s China’s front yard,” Burlison told the “Just the News, No Noise television show. “And China has used the united front to enter into loan agreements and contracts to create trade zones within Antigua in order to gain a foothold into the Caribbean.”

“And this is just part of their efforts around the globe, whether it’s in African countries or Laos. They’re they’re creating a network to try to undermine the U.S. dollar and try to end run around some of our tariffs and other programs,” he warned.

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