Alejandro Mayorkas: A Portrait of the Intended Nominee for DHS Secretary

Will a Senate confirmation hearing recall troubling integrity scandals and heavy-handed re-direction on immigration law and fraud enforcement?

Views on Immigrants and Immigration

Pressuring Employees to “Get to Yes” on Visas Applications, Forget Fraud

  • Mayorkas had become “visibly agitated” during a visit to USCIS’s California offices when told employees there wanted to root out fraud. “Why would you be focusing on that instead of approvals?” he reputedly demanded. A witness said “his message was offensive to a lot of officers who are trained to detect fraud.”
  • At a management conference, Mayorkas directed top officials to find ways always to “get to yes” regarding “customer” immigrants who filed visa applications. He told his subordinates to “look at petitions from the perspective of the customer” and that the goal was “zero complaints”, implying that approvals were the means to that end.
  • At a conference in Landsdowne, Va., Mayorkas said there were some “managers with black spots on their hearts” who can’t see their way to grant benefits and that he was “dealing” with them and also subordinates “too close” to them, with immediate involuntary re-assignments.
  • The California USCIS office was told to abandon an important anti-fraud measure that checked for high-risk applicants on a government database, and fraud specialists had to stop investigating such applications.

The Inspector General’s Investigation of Mayorkas

  1. Film projects with connections to former Democratic Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, the mayor of Los Angeles, and Hollywood businessmen in late 2011.
  2. A hotel and casino project in Las Vegas that was being pushed by U.S. Democratic Sen. Harry Reid in 2013 on behalf of some law clients of the senator’s son, Rory.
  3. An industrial investment fund’s proposed hybrid vehicle factory in Virginia promoted by former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe and Hillary Clinton’s brother, Anthony Rodham, from 2011 through 2013.

Commutation of a Drug Trafficker’s Sentence

A More Complete Portrait



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Todd Bensman

Todd Bensman is Senior National Security Fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, a 9-year counterterrorism intelligence manager, and 23-year journalist