WASHINGTON – Today, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Ranking Member of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, released the following response to the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General’s Memorandum for Secretary Johnson regarding an Investigation into Employee Complaints about Management of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ EB-5 program.
“Ali Mayorkas is a dedicated, thoughtful, and talented public servant. Before serving at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), he was an Assistant U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. Since his confirmation as Deputy Secretary of DHS 15 months ago, Ali Mayorkas has worked tirelessly to change the Department for the better and is known for rolling up his sleeves and working hard to get the job done. For example, he helped coordinate the response to several major cyber attacks, including the breach of the major contractor USIS and the spread of the Heartbleed computer virus. In addition, in the wake of a series of serious security lapses by the U.S. Secret Service, he led an independent panel that issued far-reaching recommendations to build a better and stronger Secret Service.
“A number of my colleagues, community leaders, and other officials have lauded Deputy Secretary Mayorkas’ energetic and pragmatic approach to a challenging job. In its biennial High Risk List released this February, the Government Accountability Office commended Deputy Secretary Mayorkas, along with Secretary Johnson, saying that they ‘have continued to demonstrate exemplary commitment and support for addressing the Department’s management challenges.’ He has also prioritized building relationships in order to help the Department achieve its mission, including strengthening and deepening the Department’s relationship with state and local law enforcement.
“That being said, I take seriously the allegations raised regarding Deputy Secretary Mayorkas and the efforts of the Office of the Inspector General to investigate them.
“Throughout his career in public service, Deputy Secretary Mayorkas has earned the reputation as a change agent. As many of us know, change at any kind of organization isn’t always easy and can meet resistance. However, it’s important that leaders in the federal government embrace change if it’s in the best interest of the program’s goals, the agency, and our nation. As Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), he was willing to make tough and sometimes unpopular – but necessary – decisions within his authorities in order to improve the complex EB-5 program, particularly its national security and fraud vulnerabilities, and to move his agency forward. I should note that many Members of Congress and other stakeholders of both parties had called for these, and additional, changes. As a result of his efforts, the EB-5 program, though still not perfect, is much improved. Now it is ultimately up to Congress to fix the program’s problems for the long-term, including the recommendations then-Director Mayorkas made but Congress never enacted.
“I believe that government leaders have a responsibility to listen to the constituencies we represent and serve, whether we agree with them or not. At the same time, it’s imperative that any type of engagement is transparent, appropriate, and inclusive, and that we always strive to apply the rules consistently and fairly. It is concerning that the Inspector General found that a number of employees’ belief that then-Director Mayorkas favored certain EB-5 stakeholders was reasonable. It is important to ensure that the appearance of special access is not created.
“I trust that Secretary Johnson and Deputy Secretary Mayorkas will review the Inspector General’s report carefully. I understand that Secretary Johnson has already assigned the General Counsel to establish a new policy to ensure that the EB-5 program is free from the appearance or reality of improper influence. I will continue to be in contact with the Department’s leadership about its progress.”