OIG and the Mayorkas legacy

After listening to an EB-5 stakeholder “Conversation with Director Mayorkas” teleconference on December 3, 2012, and hearing what seemed like just more idealistic talk about building greater expertise and professionalism and transparency into the EB-5 program, I wrote a depressed post titled “Promises for the future, not today.” I ended up deleting that post a couple months later when, to my surprise, Director Mayorkas’ Quixotic promises started coming true. He was a driving force behind hiring higher-grade subject matter experts onto the USCIS EB-5 adjudication team to improve the quality of adjudications; getting the EB-5 program office moved out of California to Washington D.C, where it gained more resources and more opportunity for oversight and collaboration with partners such as the SEC and FBI; hosting regular public stakeholder meetings to improve communication and transparency; and getting out a years-overdue EB-5 policy memo that helped make adjudication policies more standardized and transparent. Objectively, these moves were good for the integrity and health of the EB-5 program, though there were side effects. Presumably quite a few California adjudicators lost their jobs, and those who stayed with the program were reorganized and got more oversight and had to work harder (just as we who prepare paperwork had to step it up based on the rising review standards). I’m sorry but not surprised that Mr. Mayorkas has ended up with a nice big target on his back, especially since his next move after shaking up the EB-5 division and trying to whip it back into shape has involved helping President Obama with the Executive Actions on immigration. If you’d like to witness people aiming at that target, you can read the March 24, 2015 edition of the Office of Inspector General’s investigation into USCIS employee complaints. Have your gas mask ready to deal with the politics. Or if you just want the summary of the media’s take on this report: Mr. Mayorkas is a bad man who intervened in the decision-making of unimpeachable career civil servants out of favoritism for evil Democrats. My take is that a few disgruntled employee complaints about ambiguous cases cannot obscure how much Mr. Mayorkas improved the quality and predictability of EB-5 adjudications during his tenure by hiring business experts and economists and attorneys, getting more resources committed to EB-5, and pushing for published policy guidance. I personally blame his standards and staffing decisions for the fact that my business plans are about ten pages longer than they were pre-Mayorkas era and festooned with footnote citations to verifiable market and industry research. I also witness and appreciate the improved professionalism that he encouraged in preparation and review of EB-5 cases.
Update: See the comments for additional commentary and links to informed articles related to the OIG report.

About Suzanne (www.lucidtext.com)
Lucid Professional Writing provides writing and editing services for businesses and scholars, and specializes in assisting clients to prepare business plans for filing with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

8 Responses to OIG and the Mayorkas legacy

  1. I really like your blog and the coment of my friend Angelo Paparelli of Seyfarth Shaw LLP is excellent. He told Law360 that he believes Mayorkas’ character is “being unfairly impugned,” and that, in his experience, Mayorkas is a man of “the highest integrity.” Paparelli added that during his tenure at USCIS, Mayorkas made “significant strides in many, many different program areas.”

    “When you make change, people who resist change in an organization will grouse,” he said. “And unfortunately, because everything in immigration is politically charged, the grousers have the ear of Sen. Grassley, and now the ear of the OIG for DHS, and they’re trying to make something where I believe nothing exists.”

    https://www.law360.com/articles/635318/dhs-deputy-accused-of-playing-favorites-in-eb-5-program

    Bernard Wolfsdorf

  2. Jin Yong says:

    http://discuss.ilw.com/content.php?4201-Mar-25-OIG-On-EB5

    I tend to believe what ILW.com said regarding this matter.

  3. Jin Yong says:

    Also, as the below article says, everyone was contacting or trying to contact Mayorkas.

    http://wtop.com/virginia/2015/03/va-gov-responds-to-inspector-generals-report-on-investment-visas/

  4. Sharique Hussain says:

    I don’t think there is smoke without fire. I read the ICE EB-5 memo as well as the DHS OIG report, and am convinced that there was illegal behaviour. I also read Mohammed Shaikh’s EB-5 blog and am convinced that he was speaking the truth about the securities fraud, visa fraud and securities law violations. It may be time to require regional centers to clean up their acts.

    • I have not often observed truth in Mohammad Shaikh’s EB-5 blog, but he certainly pursues his thesis with admirable energy and consistency, if not with pure regard for facts. I tend to think that when there’s smoke there’s either fire or someone motivated to create smoke so that they can cry fire. Players like an anti-immigration Republican senator and civil servants who got reshuffled have such motivation, which adds to my skepticism in this case. But my intent in posting wasn’t to make a judgment on the three cases of alleged favoritism to Democrats, since I don’t know much about those three cases, but to testify to what I do know — the catalog of reforms and accomplishments by Mayorkas at USCIS that are not questioned, and that are out of character with the allegations in those three cases.

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