Visa Program Used to Help White House Business Allies

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services was tampered with in order to use visa program to help certain businesses.

The Inspector General reports that, as head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Alejandro Mayorkas interfered with his own staff in order to make sure favors were bestowed upon friends of the Obama Administration and of the Clintons. The report is detailed at Watchdog.org: “Investigation finds Mayorkas used visa program to help White House allies.”

Alejandro Mayorkas, the man President Obama and Senate Democrats once hoped would head the Department of Homeland Security, overruled his own U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services staff to expedite visa approvals for foreign investors in businesses with connections to prominent Democrats, a federal investigation released Tuesday concludes.

“In three matters pending before USCIS … Mr. Mayorkas communicated with stakeholders on substantive issues, outside of the normal adjudicatory process, and intervened with the career USCIS staff in ways that benefited the stakeholders,” wrote John Roth, the Inspector General. “In each of these three instances, but for Mr. Mayorkas’ intervention, the matter would have been decided differently.”

Mayorkas elbowed his way into each of the issues as the USCIS director responsible for the federal EB-5 program. The EB-5 program was created in 1990, and offers green cards to foreign nationals who invest at least $500,000 to create 10 or more jobs in U.S. companies.

In the three cases the IG investigated, the projects were linked to politically prominent individuals, two of them connected to likely presidential contender Hillary Clinton.

The accusations not only involve Obama’s nominee for high position at Homeland Security, but also Hillary Clinton’s brother, Anthony Rodham. Bill Clinton was also involved.

[See also, “Obama Nominee Under Investigation for Intervening on Behalf of Hillary’s Brother.”]

I am tempted to think that the real lesson here is not so much that regulations were subverted for political purposes, but that the regulations probably really exist for no other reason than to enable politicians to bestow favors and thus purchase favor for themselves. Maybe someone can show me how I am wrong, but until such an argument is provided this seems like a much more plausible explanation. By establishing a process to slow down or deny businesses, the government has set up a system to speed up and allow businesses to operate, as long as they do special favors for the politicians.

“USCIS staff knew that Mr. Mayorkas was communicating with applicants and other stakeholders outside established USCIS policy; they also understood that these applicants were prominent or politically connected,” the report says. “After this communication, staff witnessed Mr. Mayorkas inserting himself in unprecedented ways into an adjudicative process governed by statute, regulation, and USCIS policy. As a result of his deviation from the normal process, applicants and stakeholders with whom he had just been in contact received a specific benefit.”

Perhaps I am being too cynical. The EB-5 program exists to bestow green cards on foreigners who invest at least a half-million dollars in the U.S. and create at least ten jobs here. The problem seems to be that the foreign investors have to write proposals for what they plan to do. It seems, in these cases, the staff were quite convinced that the applicants were massively exaggerating the value of the investment or the number of jobs that would be created. But that didn’t matter once Mayorkas inserted himself into the process.

So will there be any penalties for this corruption?

Don’t count on it.