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Thread: Lawmakers Question Officials about Controversial Visa Program for Wealthy Foreeigners

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Lawmakers Question Officials about Controversial Visa Program for Wealthy Foreeigners

    Lawmakers to Question Top Officials about Controversial Visa Program for Wealthy Foreigners

    WASHINGTON — Mar 25, 2015, 9:41 AM ET
    By MATTHEW MOSK and BRIAN ROSS


    ABC News

    NEXT VIDEOBrian Ross Asks Alejandro Mayorkas About EB-5 Program

    Republicans in Congress voiced strong objections Tuesday in response to a scathing Homeland Security investigation that found a senior official appeared to give special treatment to politically-connected applicants when he ran a little-known federal program that offers visas to those who invest $500,000 in a job-creating business.

    U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the committee chairman, said he viewed the findings of the Homeland Security Inspector General “extremely concerning” and said he will hold hearings Thursday to determine if further investigation is needed.

    ABC News

    PHOTO: Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas declines to answer questions on camera from ABC News' Chief Investigative Correspondent Brian Ross.

    "These allegations appear to be at odds with [the immigration agency’s] expressed mission to 'administer the nation’s immigration system fairly, honestly and correctly,'" McCaul said.DIGITAL

    FEATURE: The $500,000 Green Card

    Whistleblowers: US Gave Visas to Suspected Forgers, Fraudsters, Criminals
    Top Homeland Official Alejandro Mayorkas Accused of Political Favoritism

    The Inspector General’s investigation focused on the leadership of Alejandro Mayorkas, who served as director of the immigration program known as EB-5, an obscure but increasingly popular method for obtaining highly-sought-after American Green Cards. The program caters to wealthy foreigners, requiring them to invest $500,000 or sometimes $1 million in a qualifying U.S. project that promises to create jobs. In late 2013, Mayorkas was promoted by President Obama to Deputy Secretary of the department over objections from Republicans who had already begun to hear rumblings of problems with his handling of the immigration program.


    The IG report came on the heels of an ABC News investigation that revealed that a number of visa recipients were approved despite objections from career officials, who found instances where foreign applicants accused of fraud, money laundering, even involvement in child pornography, had received permission to move to the U.S. The ABC News investigation also found evidence that spies and even possible terrorists had attempted to exploit the visa program to enter the country.


    The Inspector General’s report focused on allegations that Mayorkas had exerting improper influence on behalf of politically connected EB-5 applicants.


    “The juxtaposition of Mr. Mayorkas’ communication with external stakeholders on specific matters outside the normal procedures, coupled with favorable action that deviated from the regulatory scheme designed to ensure fairness and evenhandedness in adjudicating benefits, created an appearance of favoritism and special access,” the report found.


    Mayorkas wrote a robust response to the report, saying his efforts were focused on improving a troubled program, and were always vetted by agency attorneys. On Tuesday, he issued a statement saying, "While I disagree with the Inspector General’s report, I will certainly learn from it and from this process."


    "The EB-5 program was badly broken when I arrived at USCIS [United States Citizenship and Immigration Services]," he said. "I could not and did not turn my back on my responsibility to address those grave problems. I made improving the program a priority and I did so in a hands-on manner, through cases, policies, and sweeping personnel and organizational changes."


    The Inspector General's findings did not reach conclusions about Mayorjas's motives.


    “Regardless of Mr. Mayorkas’ motives, his intervention in these matters created significant resentment in USCIS. This resentment was not isolated to career staff adjudicating within the EB-5 program, but extended to senior managers and attorneys responsible for the broader USCIS mission and programs,” it said.


    Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley, an early critic of the EB-5 program, said the Inspector General’s findings validated his objections to the way Mayorkas had run the immigration office.


    “Digging into the report and reading about specific cases, you can see just how questionable Mr. Mayorkas’ ethics and judgment were,” Grassley said. “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.”


    Both the ABC News investigation and the Inspector General’s report were based on numerous interviews with, and documents provided by agency whistleblowers, a group of insiders that included senior immigration officials. The inspector general said 15 different federal employees shared similar stories of Mayorkas intervening on behalf of influential applicants.


    “The sheer number of whistleblowers who came forward is a darn good indication as to how bad things were at the agency,” Grassley said. “They are courageous people for reporting these very serious allegations despite fear of retaliation, especially given that Mr. Mayorkas was being elevated by the President to be Deputy Secretary.”


    Reaction to the report fell largely along partisan lines, and the report may have lasting political reverberations. Among those who profited from the EB-5 program was Anthony Rodham, the brother of presumptive Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

    The report specifically noted that Rodham attempted to contact Mayorkas. Messages left for Rodham by ABC News were not returned.


    While Republicans voiced strong objections, Democrats rallied around Mayorkas, focusing on the fact that the Inspector General failed to find any evidence of criminal wrongdoing.


    Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, issued a statement saying the investigators and whistleblowers misunderstood Mayorkas’s actions.


    “The Inspector General provided no definitive determination of wrongdoing and instead found that Deputy Secretary Mayorkas’ hands-on and reform-minded leadership style may have been misinterpreted,” Thompson said, adding that the report “paints a picture of an advocate and manager who demanded reform and responsiveness from his agency.”


    Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., the ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, had a similar reaction, praising Mayorkas as a “dedicated, thoughtful, and talented public servant” and a change agent.


    “As many of us know, change at any kind of organization isn’t always easy and can meet resistance,” he said.


    But even Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson acknowledged in a statement that the report raised issues that should not be ignored or overlooked.


    “I believe there are lessons to be learned from the Inspector General’s report – by Ali, and all of us who are leaders in public service,” Johnson wrote. “Each of us in leadership must be mindful that, when we become involved in individual matters that happen to reach our desk, we risk the appearance of preferential treatment and the suspicion of our subordinates. As public servants, we must maintain the trust and confidence of all those around us, and be above reproach. I have discussed this with Deputy Secretary Mayorkas and I am confident he understands this.”

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/congress-pr...ry?id=29889703

    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    "These allegations appear to be at odds with [the immigration agency’s] expressed mission to 'administer the nation’s immigration system fairly, honestly and correctly,'" McCaul said.DIGITAL
    Well, look at that, "the agency's expressed mission to administer the nation's immigration system fairly, honestly and correctly".

    The agency does have a legal mission after all, if it would only do the job it's paid very well to do, then we wouldn't have this problem to begin with, now would we?
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  3. #3
    Senior Member vistalad's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDoe2 View Post
    Republicans in Congress voiced strong objections Tuesday in response to a scathing Homeland Security investigation that found a senior official appeared to give special treatment to politically-connected applicants when he ran a little-known federal program that offers visas to those who invest $500,000 in a job-creating business.
    Bulloney.

    This ranks right up there with Repubs huffing and puffing about 'Bama's amnesty for illegals, all the while using him as cover, to give their big money donors the additional surplus labor that those donors covet.

    If the United States is for sale, foreigners will buy it, for pennies on the dollar. Repubs will huff and puff, then invite the buyers to a fundraiser.
    **********************************
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    American jobs for American workers

    Fair trade, not free trade
    kevinssdad and Kiara like this.

  4. #4
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vistalad View Post
    . . . If the United States is for sale, foreigners will buy it, for pennies on the dollar. Repubs will huff and puff, then invite the buyers to a fundraiser.
    SAD. But so true.
    kevinssdad likes this.
    NO AMNESTY

    Don't reward the criminal actions of millions of illegal aliens by giving them citizenship.


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    Please support our fight against illegal immigration by joining ALIPAC's email alerts here https://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  5. #5
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by vistalad View Post
    Bulloney.

    This ranks right up there with Repubs huffing and puffing about 'Bama's amnesty for illegals, all the while using him as cover, to give their big money donors the additional surplus labor that those donors covet.

    If the United States is for sale, foreigners will buy it, for pennies on the dollar. Repubs will huff and puff, then invite the buyers to a fundraiser.
    **********************************
    Americans first in this magnificent country

    American jobs for American workers

    Fair trade, not free trade
    Republicans have a lot of making up to do, and they better get it straight, get it right, and get it quick. Anyone even thinking about voting for any of theses horses asses who have ever said anything nice about illegal aliens or clamored for more legal immigration as a solution to illegal immigration needs to be struck immediately from the list of viable candidates and any incumbents who have ever slobbered this stupidity need to be removed next election.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
    Save America, Deport Congress! - Judy

    Support our FIGHT AGAINST illegal immigration & Amnesty by joining our E-mail Alerts at https://eepurl.com/cktGTn

  6. #6
    Senior Member vistalad's Avatar
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    The Tea Party movement is looking better all the time. They have a few goof balls who are spouting the Libertarian, Open Borders nonsense, but they also have a fair number of solid people who seem to be looking to promote an American point of view.
    *****************************
    Americans first in this magnificent country

    American jobs for American workers

    Fair trade, not free trade
    Judy likes this.

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