A year-old investigation by a watchdog office in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has found no “wrongdoing” on the part of Alejandro Mayorkas, the Obama administration’s nominee to be deputy Homeland Security Secretary, stemming from his role as the director of Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in helping to adjudicate the granting of visas for foreigners wanting to invest in an electric-car company in the United States, Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said at the outset of a hearing yesterday to consider Mayorkas’ nomination.
Carper said the Inspector General’s (IG) Office hasn’t issued any preliminary findings from its investigation.
Mayorkas for his part denied that he influenced the visa process. He also said that he doesn’t know the outcome of the visa processing and that he hasn’t been interviewed by the DHS Inspector General’s Office.
Mayorkas said that he only learned of the investigation on Monday evening.
Republicans on the committee wanted yesterday’s hearing to be postponed but Carper said “rather than allowing rumor, speculation, and innuendo to rule the day, this hearing will allow us to continue the process of vetting this nominee.” Later, Carper said he would speak with Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), the ranking member on the committee, about the next steps to be taken, although he declined to comment on the timing.
“I am hopeful that Dr. Coburn will further consider Mr. Mayorkas’ nomination,” Carper said in a statement.
No Republicans attended yesterday’s hearing.
DHS is in a leadership predicament. Jane Holl Lute, the previous deputy secretary, left in May. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is expected to leave in September to run the Univ. of California system. Additionally, there are more than a dozen other senior posts throughout DHS that are being led by in acting capacities by senior government employees.
Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein (Calif.) and Mary Landrieu (La.) each introduced Mayorkas, who has led USCIS for nearly 4 years.