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Whiners: Mayorkas says Gulf Coast ‘continues to complain’

By   /   July 25, 2013  /   No Comments

Part 39 of 72 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul
AP photo

NOTHING TO SEE: Alejandro Mayorkas denies he gave special treatment to anyone seeking EB-5 status.


By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org

WASHINGTON — The director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services testified Thursday that the EB-5 visa-investor program generates more complaints than any other at the agency.

And Gulf Coast Funds Management – a funding arm of Terry McAuliffe’s GreenTech Automotive – is among the biggest complainers, said Alejandro Mayorkas.

Documents obtained by Watchdog show that company executives have peppered top immigration officials with requests for help with its investor-visa program.

Gulf Coast “continues to complain” about the time and manner in which USCIS processes the company’s applicants, the director told the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

Mayorkas’ testimony contradicted Gulf Coast general counsel Simone Williams’ assertion this week that the McLean, Va-based firm “has not sought assistance from USCIS” in resolving cases.

Mayorkas is President Obama’s nominee to be deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. His nomination has been clouded by an investigation into his oversight of Gulf Coast’s EB-5 program.

AP photo

SPEAK NOW: Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., pressed Mayorkas for details about the EB-5 program generally, and Gulf Coast specifically.

Republican members boycotted the committee’s confirmation hearing Thursday, calling it premature in light of the ongoing investigation by DHS’ Inspector General’s Office.

Committee Chairman Tom Carper, D-Del., pressed Mayorkas for details about the EB-5 program generally, and Gulf Coast specifically.

Noting that the program has expanded “exponentially” in the past four years, the USCIS director said, “With growth, comes challenges to the program’s integrity.”

“Not a week goes by without complaints. We receive calls and emails from Congress more than weekly,” he testified.

Speaking about challenges in the EB-5 program generally, Mayorkas added, “We have seen cases where individuals have made misrepresentations to us – or worse yet, seek to enter the country when they may pose a threat.”

Mayorkas says he has bolstered analytic and enforcement efforts to buttress the program that awards U.S. residency to foreign nationals who invest $500,000 to $1 million in American businesses.

The USCIS chief said Gulf Coast’s complaints about his agency suggest that he has not done GCFM or GreenTech any favors.

“To be accused of tipping the scales seems a bit contradictory,” he said.

Testifying under oath, Mayorkas recounted, “I was asked to attend a meeting with (McAuliffe) so I could hear his complaints. I heard those complaints, and that was the extent of the interaction.” He recalled that the meeting occurred “about two years ago.”

Asked by Carper if he imposed any changes in the handling of Gulf Coast’s investor applications as a result of the meeting, Mayorkas responded, “Absolutely not.”

“I returned to my office and said I was tired of hearing complaints,” he said.

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for Watchdog.org and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at kenric@watchdogvirginia.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

Part of 72 in the series Terry McAuliffe - Carmogul
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  2. VA: Media echo Watchdog exclusive on McAuliffe’s electric car maneuvers
  3. No news here: PolitFact brands Terry McAuliffe’s electric-car claim ‘false’
  4. Experts question source of McAuliffe car-company funding
  5. Terry McAuliffe on business ventures: ‘Some work, some don’t’
  6. How McAuliffe’s car company failed the Virginia test, landed in Mississippi
  7. Virginia official wants probe of McAuliffe company ‘visa-for-sale’ program
  8. McAuliffe car company sues Watchdog in libel claim
  9. Barack Obama’s GreenTech connection: Rick Wade
  10. Silence, secrecy, cops follow GreenTech’s China deal
  11. McAuliffe hones China’s crony-capitalism model in U.S.
  12. Promises keep Tunica County afloat
  13. McAuliffe company’s China hook-up: Will it work?
  14. McAuliffe car lags in Domino’s delivery
  15. McAuliffe car co. parent in off-shore tax shelter
  16. Lawmaker gives feds one more week for EB-5 answers
  17. Bolling: McAuliffe’s Mississippi package ‘attractive’
  18. Inside, execs knew McAuliffe plan had ‘substantial risk’
  19. Union darling McAuliffe and his non-union car company
  20. Did Clinton aid the birth of ‘McAuliffe’ car company?
  21. McAuliffe feels heat over GreenTech resignation
  22. TV report: One year later, ‘party is over’ at GreenTech
  23. Months after he said he left company, McAuliffe kept talking GreenTech
  24. Clinton connection: More money for McAuliffe
  25. Terry McAuliffe used loophole to avoid key SEC oversight of his car company
  26. VA officials: McAuliffe green car more politics than biz
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  28. Before Watchdog, McAuliffe blamed federal officials for money trouble
  29. McAuliffe gets cash from GreenTech exec, board members
  30. Watchdog report on McAuliffe spurs FOI request to Homeland Security
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  32. Totally wired: McAuliffe went to Napolitano to expedite company funding
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  34. Investigation targets Homeland official’s relationship to McAuliffe company
  35. Even before news of federal probe, McAuliffe ducked GreenTech questions
  36. McAuliffe company pressed Homeland official on 81 investor visas
  37. Rodham company sought visa for controversial Chinese exec
  38. Immigration official says he met with McAuliffe to discuss visas for foreign investors
  39. Whiners: Mayorkas says Gulf Coast ‘continues to complain’
  40. VIDEO: Ex-GreenTech employee says little happened at Horn Lake plant
  41. Online ad to Terry McAuliffe: Drop your lawsuit
  42. National security on ‘hold’: Lawmakers press McAuliffe for answers
  43. Citizens United documentary film delves into McAuliffe, GreenTech
  44. VIDEO: Terry McAuliffe’s 15 million-square-foot car plant … in China
  45. Feds call McAuliffe car company’s use of investment program ‘possible fraud’
  46. GreenTech courted Obama’s Solyndra aide
  47. GOP legislators call for McAuliffe to answer GreenTech questions
  48. McAuliffe ‘desperate’ over documentary, Citizens United says
  49. GreenTech weighed Fisker-style federal loan
  50. Group tells Terry: Follow ‘McAuliffe Standard’ on disclosure
  51. Car and Driver races into GreenTech controversy
  52. Congressman: McAuliffe owes Virginians explanation about White House meeting
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  54. GreenTech execs use Times and ABC to throw McAuliffe under the (non-electric) bus
  55. Aide in union contribution swap hosts California fund-raiser for McAuliffe
  56. Despite denials, docs show McAuliffe company asked feds to fast-track visa for investor tied to spy list
  57. Former Democrat Party director was on GreenTech payroll
  58. More bad news for McAuliffe car company as GreenTech China venture stalls
  59. Clinton Foundation posts deficits on McAuliffe’s watch
  60. VIDEO: GreenTech record dogs McAuliffe at energy forum
  61. Auto industry expert labels McAuliffe electric car ‘preposterous’
  62. Democratic leaders have their own Bain pain in Mideast private equity deal
  63. Hillary PAC adviser served as GreenTech spokeswoman
  64. New emails add evidence McAuliffe pressed U.S. officials to approve GreenTech funding
  65. After endorsement, Post shrinks facts to cover Terry McAuliffe
  66. Ties that bind: Following the McAuliffe-Clinton money trail
  67. McAuliffe tilts at windmills; Chinese venture goes bust
  68. Federal investigations cast shadow over McAuliffe on Election Day
  69. DHS inspector over GreenTech-McAuliffe case is under investigation
  70. McAuliffe names former GreenTech employee secretary of commonwealth
  71. McAuliffe lawyers, accountants sort GreenTech stock amid federal investigations
  72. Nuking filibusters, Dems clear way for Mayorkas at Homeland Security

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Kenric Ward