DHS claims its "PATRIOTIC" to influence TV shows, movies, invest in sports centers, casinos, shopping malls, rest homes and more!
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) inspector general has released hundreds of pages of emails plus other documents in support of its investigation of improper influence on the EB-5 immigration program. Many of the documents discuss hundreds of millions of dollars in financing for film and television productions from Sony Pictures and Time Warner with prominent politicians including former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendall and the office of former Los Angeles mayorAntonio Villaraigosa interjecting in an effort to get approvals. We [DHS] were also told he was exerting influence to give these individuals preference and access not available to others.
In 2009, Lionsgate was denied funding from EB-5 investors because it was determined that the studio was not legally obligated to accept the funding.
After a whistleblower stepped forward, DHS's inspector general looked into whether Alejandro Mayorkas, former director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, gave special treatment to politically-connected applicants and exerted improper influence in the adjudication of the EB-5 program. A core part of the investigation looked into Mayorkas' order reversing a decision denying funding of Sony movie projects. He's also said to have handpicked a review board to review a separate series of Time Warner movie projects.
"Mr. Mayorkas ordered that a USCIS decision to deny a proposal to fund a series of Sony movie projects in Los Angeles be reversed after he was in contact with politically prominent stakeholdersassociated with the venture. Mr. Mayorkas later created a “deference review board,” staffed with individuals he handpicked, to review a separate series of Time Warner movie projects."
WTF? DHS is reviewing movie projects?
An ABC News investigation that aired last month, which found that officials in the Department of Homeland Security had ignored pointed warnings from federal agents and approved visas for immigrants suspected of having committed fraud, money laundering, and even one applicant with alleged ties to a child porn website. Several of those cases involved investment projects whose executives had sought and received help from powerful political figures to lobby Mayorkas for support.
"He is often impatient with our sluggish government bureaucracy, can at times be very hands-on in resolving issues and problems that are brought to his personal attention, and is always mindful that we are public servants," Johnson said. "Ali works hard to do the right thing, and never acts, in my observation, for reasons of personal advancement or aggrandizement."
Those two statements should put to rest any pretense of a real DHS investigation. They called his actions 'PATRIOTIC"!
"We [DHS] made several attempts to interview key external EB-5 stakeholders, many of whom declined to speak with us."
The nerve of 'stakeholders' declining to speak to DHS on record! When the shoe's on the other foot, and they're wink, wink being investigated by DHS they decline to comment. If you think it was a real investigation, I have a bridge to sell you in Arizona.
"We [DHS] found that employees’ belief that Mr. Mayorkas favored certain politically powerful EB-5 stakeholders was reasonable."
Of course Mayorkas (DHS) did, 'powerful stakeholders created and continue to fund DHS!
Late last month, a report about the investigation was released. The report's discussion on how Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid intervened over some Las Vegas projects and how Virginia governor Terry McAuliffe interjected for an ELECTRIC CAR COMPANY commanded the most press attention, but the report also dealt with the proposed projects involving Lionsgate, Sony and Time Warner.
"At the request of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Mr. Mayorkas intervened to allow expedited review of investor petitions involved in funding a Las Vegas hotel and casino, notwithstanding the career staff’s original decision not to do so. The career staff noted that the purported urgency was of the applicant’s own making and that the decision to expedite fell outside EB-5 program guidelines. Nevertheless, Mr. Mayorkas pressured staff to expedite the review. He also took the extraordinary step of requiring staff to brief Senator Reid’s staff on a weekly basis for several months."
Question: If Harry Reid is working for DHS, doesn't the above statement show they're involved in hotels & casinos?
"Gulf Coast Funds Management Regional Center: Mr. Mayorkas intervened in an administrative appeal related to the denial of a regional center’s application to receive EB-5 funding to manufacture electric cars through investments in a company in which Terry McAuliffe was the board chairman. This intervention was unprecedented and, because of the political prominence of the individuals involved, as well as USCIS’ traditional deference to its administrative appeals process, staff perceived it as politically motivated."
"Many employees concluded, not unreasonably, that the pressure exerted on them was because the individuals involved were politically connected."
"We [DHS] were unable to determine Mr. Mayorkas’ motives for his actions. In each instance he recollected, Mr. Mayorkas asserted that he intervened to improve the EB-5 process or to prevent error. As a result, he claimed that he took a hands-on approach when a case warranted his personal involvement. Mr. Mayorkas told us that his sole motivation for such involvement was to strengthen the integrity of the program; he said he had no interest in whether a particular application or petition was approved."
Mr. Mayorkas told us (DHS) in his interview that he could not recall the basis of his initial concerns about the LA Films III denial, but noted that the case involved a "financing" issue. How convenient the number 2 guy at DHS denies then forgets everything!
"Each DHS employee conveyed the same factual scenario: certain applicants and stakeholders received preferential access to DHS leadership and preferential treatment in either the handling of their application or petition or regarding the merits of the application or petition."
By DHS's own admission, employees are afraid to speak out, for fear they'll be arrested:
"The number and variety of witnesses is highly unusual. It is also quite unusual that a significant percentage of the witnesses we interviewed would talk to us only after being assured that their identities would remain confidential. Being a whistleblower is seen to be hazardous in the Federal Government."
Las Vegas Regional Center (LVRC) Approved as a Regional Center:
Since 2010 DHS has been investing in "10 industry economic clusters: hotel, manufacturing, retail shopping centers, restaurant, casino, general retail, office, medical office, assisted living/nursing home, and sports and recreation centers."
"On September 29, 2009, the LVRC filed an application with USCIS for recognition as a regional center. According to the proposal, the regional center planned to focus its investments in new commercial enterprises in 10 industry economic clusters: hotel, manufacturing, retail shopping centers, restaurant, casino, general retail, office, medical office, assisted living/nursing home, and sports and recreation centers. USCIS approved the application on May 27, 2010." (this information can be found on page 15 of the DHS report.)
"On October 2, 2012, the first investor petition related to a proposal for about 230 investors to partially fund SLS, an LVRC project, arrived at USCIS. Other investor petitions followed."
"About two months after individual SLS investors started filing petitions, USCIS began receiving congressional inquiries about the petitions. On December 5, 2012, a member of Senator Harry Reid’s staff emailed USCIS’ Office of Legislative Affairs asking whether USCIS could expedite processing of the SLS investor petitions. By granting expedited processing, SLS petitions would move ahead of previously filed petitions. [MOA-0001773-1774]"
"Senator Reid’s staff member asserted that the SLS investor petitions needed expedited processing because the terms of the bank financing for SLS required that 10 percent of all visas for the project be approved by mid-January 2013. Failure to do so would result in losing the financing for the project."
"At that time, 25 investor petitions had been submitted, with an additional 205 to follow. The staff member indicated that the project had already received a number of local government permits for construction, at a cost of several hundred thousand dollars, which would expire in January. The staff member forwarded correspondence to USCIS from LVRC claiming that submission of the SLS petitions had been delayed because of potential changes to USCIS’ policy on tenant occupancy.18 [EM-0000509], [MOA-0001777]"
(18 - On December 20, 2012, USCIS finalized new tenant occupancy guidance. Normally, USCIS requires evidence from an investor that a specific amount of investment is connected to new jobs created by prospective tenants of its commercial spaces. Under the revised guidance, the investor would not have to connect a specific amount to new jobs, but would get credit for job creation if it could demonstrate that the economic benefits of the project would remove “a significant market-based constraint.”)