Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) ripped into Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for “selling citizenship” to Chinese nationals.
Cotton denounced Alejandro Mayorkas, who Biden announced he would pick as his DHS chief on Tuesday, during an interview on Fox News on Wednesday. Cotton said that Mayorkas’ alleged abuse of the EB-5 visa program, which allows foreigners who invest significant sums into growing U.S. businesses to apply for green cards, “disqualified” Mayorkas from the position.
“He was found by Barack Obama’s inspector general to be guilty of selling green cards to Chinese nationals on behalf of rich Democratic donors,” Cotton said. “Think about that. Selling citizenship to well-connected Chinese nationals on behalf of Democratic Party donors. That is disqualifying…”
In tweeting out the clip, Cotton added: “Alejandro 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. He is disqualified from leading the Department of Homeland Security.”
Alejandro 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.
He is disqualified from leading the Department of Homeland Security. pic.twitter.com/8XsPdvn30G
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) November 25, 2020
Former President Barack Obama tapped Mayorkas in 2013 to serve as DHS deputy secretary after he had overseen Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009 to 2013. In 2015, Mayorkas testified before the House Homeland Security Committee over an inspector general report that he had pushed some Chinese nationals with ties to top Democratic lawmakers through the EB-5 visa program. Complaints from U.S. Customs and Immigration Services staff first led to the probe into Mayorkas’ handling of the visa program, according to Fox News.
Mayorkas put out a statement after the inspector general report came out saying he disagreed with the findings, and had improved the program through “hands-on” administration.
“While I disagree with the Inspector General’s report, I will certainly learn from it and from this process. I appreciate and embrace Secretary Johnson’s decision to create a new protocol to ensure the EB-5 program is free from the reality or perception of improper outside influence,” Mayorkas said.
“As the leader of U.S. Citizenship and Immigrations Services, I had the responsibility to ensure that cases, including the three that are the focus of the report, were decided as the law required and that agency errors were corrected. I fulfilled that responsibility and I also took steps to ensure that my involvement was understood by those around me,” he continued.
“The EB-5 program was badly broken when I arrived at USCIS. There was erroneous decision-making and insufficient security vetting of cases. 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,” Mayorkas added.
The Biden campaign defended the pick, telling Fox News that the inspector general report did not uncover any legal wrongdoing by Mayorkas.