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