WASHINGTON – Senator Chuck Grassley, Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, today brought to the attention of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Intelligence Committees his concerns about Alejandro Mayorkas, the President’s nominee to be the next Deputy Director of Homeland Security.
Grassley said that he has learned from whistleblowers that other federal agencies have raised national security concerns with the approval of several EB-5 regional centers. The EB-5 program falls directly under Mayorkas’ supervision. Documents from whistleblowers appear to show that concerns were raised because some visa applications may have been expedited without sufficient regard to criminal activity or security issues.
Grassley also learned on Monday night that the Office of the Inspector General has an ongoing investigation into Mayorkas’ conduct in several areas beyond the approval of projects with little regard for national security. According to the Inspector General, this includes allegations of conflicts of interest, misuse of position, mismanagement of the EB-5 program, and an appearance of impropriety.
“I’ve received information and documents from whistleblowers over the last few days, which demonstrate that the Director was directly involved in expediting EB-5 applications before the proper security checks. The FBI has expressed serious national security concerns with foreign investors involved in some of the EB-5 projects that had moved forward. We need to be sure that the EB-5 program is not only creating economic stimulus and jobs, but that the nation’s security isn’t at risk.”
Grassley has made several inquiries into the program, many based on information brought forward from whistleblowers.
Today, Grassley wrote to Mayorkas about his role in the approval of EB-5 regional centers after receiving emails of serious national security concerns from the FBI, and that several projects went forward despite security concerns with many of the foreign investors.
Last week, Grassley sent letters to Mayorkas, Gulf Coast Funds Management and GreenTech Automotive about foreign capital investments made through the EB-5 Regional Center serving Louisiana and Mississippi to GreenTech and the economic stimulus to the region.
Yesterday, Grassley also sent letters to Mayorkas, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
The letter to Mayorkas raised questions about a copy of a draft multi-agency memo raising serious national security concerns about the EB-5 Regional Center program. The memo states that the “National Security Staff” at the White House requested that agencies in several departments draft an analysis of the security vulnerabilities in the EB-5 program.
The letter to Mueller asks for more information about emails from FBI personnel provided to Grassley about the FBI’s concerns about foreign investment in EB-5 regional centers across the country, and in particular, buildings that house sensitive information.
The letter to Napolitano requests additional information about the apparent approval of an EB-5 regional center that has strong political connections.