by Kenric Ward
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is the target of an ethics and conflict-of-interest complaint over his involvement in a visa-investor venture.
The complaint, filed by the activist group Cause of Action, asserts that the Nevada U.S. senator intervened with top immigration officials to benefit EB-5 visa seekers. The applicants were law clients of Reid’s son.
Among the officials contacted by Reid was Alejandro Mayorkas, then director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
Cause of Action Executive Director Daniel Epstein wrote
Despite the fact that these applications were ineligible for appeal, Sen. Reid’s efforts to lobby USCIS resulted in the reconsideration and approval of these applications, as well as the subsequent securing of millions of dollars in foreign and domestic funds for the (Las Vegas) SLS Hotel & Casino and American Dream Fund EB-5 Regional Center — both of which are major contributors to the Democratic Party.
Mayorkas, recently confirmed by the Senate to be deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, remains under investigation by the DHS Inspector General’s Office over his handling of EB-5 cases. Approved without Republican votes, Mayorkas benefited from Reid’s newly instituted “nuclear option,” which effectively blocks filibusters on confirmations.
The EB-5 program enables foreign nationals to receive green cards in exchange for $500,000 to $1-million investments in participating U.S. companies.
Cause of Action’s letter references a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcementmemo detailing how the EB-5 program “inherently creates an opportunity for fraud.”
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