Newspaper column: Now Democrats find fault with visa program that Reid abused

Democrats are highly selective about the things that send them into high dudgeon.

Democratic California Sen. Dianne Feinstein said this past week that Congress should end the EB-5 visa program that grants visas to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in job-creating projects in the U.S., calling it a “citizenship-for-sale” program.

Her umbrage was prompted by reports that President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner’s sister mentioned the visa program to potential Chinese investors in a family-owned project.

Where was the outrage four years ago when Nevada Sen. Harry Reid twisted arms at Immigration and Customs Enforcement to reverse a decision that was blocking EB-5 visas for Chinese investors in a Las Vegas casino with ties to Reid’s son Rory?

An ethics complaint was filed against Reid, then Senate Democratic majority leader, but it was buried in the bureaucracy.

The SLS built with foreign investment money (USA Today pix)

In fact, four days after that complaint was filed, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to become the second in command at the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas was the one who granted the visas after personally talking to Reid. The vote was 54-41. Had Reid not just nuked the Senate filibuster rules the nomination would have failed to achieve the previously required 60 votes.

Mayorkas was confirmed despite the fact he was under investigation at the time for expediting visa applications for certain applicants despite the rejection of those visas by career staffers.

Reid had made a personal call to Mayorkas in January 2013, according to the Washington Times, and Mayorkas promised him his agency would take a “fresh look” at the SLS hotel and casino visa request. Soon after that the agency expedited visas for about two dozen foreign SLS casino, formerly the Sahara, investors. The Times reported that Federal Election Commission records show executives for two companies involved in the hotel project had made $127,000 in political donations over the previous three elections, mostly to Democrats.

The ethics complaint by Cause of Action said, “Despite the fact that these applications were ineligible for appeal, Senator Reid’s efforts to lobby USCIS (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services) resulted in the reconsideration and approval of those applications … Even more troublesome is the fact that Senator Reid’s son, Rory Reid, and his law firm, Lionel, Sawyer & Collins P.C., are legal counsel to the SLS Hotel and Casino.”

The U.S. Senate Code of Official Conduct says: “The decision to provide assistance to petitioners may not be made on the basis of contributions or services, or promises of contributions or services, to the Member’s political campaigns or to other organizations in which the Member has a political, personal, or financial interest.”

Homeland’s Inspector General issued a report in March 2015 accusing Mayorkas of showing favoritism and providing special access to EB-5 visas for Democrats —  specifically Harry Reid, Terry McAuliffe and Anthony Rodham, brother of Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Instead of attacking, as Democrats are doing with Trump’s kin, the Obama administration circled the wagons. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said Mayorkas had been “impatient with our sluggish government bureaucracy.” It wasn’t sluggish. The expedited visas were denied and that decision was, according to agency rules, not appealable.

Later an ICE agent who tried to block the SLS visas was fired. She refused to accept a $100,000 severance package that would have required non-disclosure and testified before Congress about the abuses of the EB-5 program. She later accepted an undisclosed settlement.

The agent testified that EB-5 visas were approved in as little as 16 days and “lacked basic necessary law enforcement” screening.

She told Congress: “In 2013, after disclosing gross mismanagement, waste and fraud that threatened the general public’s safety, National Security Risks and public corruption surrounding an EB-5 project, I was subjected to a significant amount of harassment and retaliation. … Some of the violations I was investigating surrounding this EB-5 project include Title 18 statues; Major Fraud, Money Laundering, Bank and Wire fraud. In addition, I had discovered ties to Organized crime and high ranking officials and politicians, who received large campaign contributions that appeared to have facilitat(ed) the EB-5 project.”

Back then nothing could be heard from Democrats over the chirping of crickets, but now Feinstein ruminates that it is “crystal clear that the EB-5 regional center program presents a stark conflict of interest for the Trump White House.”

Reid got a pass and a coverup, but Trump is not a fellow Democrat.

A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.

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The wrath of Democrats … continued

ICE Agent Taylor Johnson testifies before Congress. (AP photo via ABC)

Fraudulently manipulate waiting lists, leaving ailing veterans to die? Get a promotion.

Investigate conservative groups seeking tax exemptions? Ho hum.

Jeopardize national security and the lives of overseas operatives by flagrantly using an unsecured email server? Run for president.

Actually do your job and try to block a powerful Washington senator from bending the law to benefit his family and cronies? Get fired, smeared and offered a bribe to keep quiet.

The Daily Caller reports that a Department of Homeland Security agent who tried to block the government handing out green cards to foreign investors with questionable backgrounds — including some who invested in a Las Vegas hotel and casino with ties to Rory Reid, son of Sen. Harry Reid — has been fired, but she refused to accept a $100,000 severance payment that was conditional on her signing a non-disclosure agreement.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Taylor Johnson told Congress this past year that she found gross mismanagement and possible corruption in a program that hands out U.S. visas to foreigners who invest at least $500,000 in American companies. She described the abuse as a threat to public safety.

She also said her investigation was shut down and her firearm and credentials confiscated.

A Daily Caller reporter says an ICE press secretary approached him with what she claimed to be confidential information showing Johnson was dishonest in an effort to smear the soon-to-be former employee. Of course, now those officials are mum because it is a personnel matter.

As for Reid’s involvement, in December 2013 Cause of Action, a group that says it advocates for government accountability, filed an ethics complaint against Reid. The complaint has been ignored.

The complaint accused Reid of using his influence to overturn decisions by ICE that denied visas to foreigners who planned to lend financial support to the renovation of the Sahara Hotel, the now renamed and reopened SLS. The agency had turned down the SLS investor visa applications due to “suspicious financial activity.” The decision was ineligible for appeal.

One official reported getting into a shouting match with a Reid staffer over the denial of those visas.

But that Cause of Action complaint was filed before all the chips were on the table.

Four days after that complaint was filed, the Senate voted to confirm the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to become the second in command at the Department of Homeland Security. He was the one who granted the visas after personally talking to Reid. The vote was 54-41. Had Reid not just nuked the Senate rules of filibuster the nomination would have failed to achieve the previously required 60 votes.

Mayorkas was confirmed despite the fact he was under investigation at the time for expediting certain visa applications for certain applicants despite the rejection of those visas by career staffers. Among those seeking foreign investors were Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and the brother of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Anthony Rodham.

Reid had made a personal call to Mayorkas, according to the Washington Times, who promised him his agency would take a “fresh look” at the SLS visa request. Soon after that the agency expedited visas for about two dozen foreign SLS investors. The Washington Times reported that Federal Election Commission records show executives for two companies involved in the hotel project had made $127,000 in political donations over the previous three elections, mostly to Democrats.

The Cause of Action complaint said, “Despite the fact that these applications were ineligible for appeal, Senator Reid’s efforts to lobby USCIS resulted in the reconsideration and approval of those applications … Even more troublesome is the fact that Senator Reid’s son, Rory Reid, and his law firm, Lionel, Sawyer & Collins P.C., are legal counsel to the SLS Hotel and Casino.”

The Senate Code of Official Conduct prohibits members from acting on matters that in which they have “a political, personal, or financial interest.”

Johnson testified that EB-5 visas were approved in as little 16 days and without “lacked basic necessary law enforcement” screening.

ABC News, in its own investigation, found foreign visa applicants were approved despite “allegations of fraud, money laundering, forgery, and other crimes against them.”

Taylor testimony:

 

 

 

Putting out the welcome mat for terrorists

Who do they think they are kidding?

Obama unilaterally ordered immigration to allow 10,000 Syrian refugees into this country this year.

Then White House spokesman Josh Earnest had the audcatity to claim:

“Refugees go through the most robust security process of anybody who’s contemplating travel to the United States. Refugees have to be screened by the National Counter Terrorism Center, by the F.B.I. Terrorist Screening Center. They go through databases that are maintained by D.H.S., the Department of Defense and the intelligence community. There is biographical and biometric information that is collected about these individuals.”

These are refugess. They are not carrying passports or visas or birth certificates or driver’s licenses.

They are from war-torn countries where records of criminal convictions or terrorist affiliations are nonexistent.

Federal agencies have admitted there is no way to vet such refugees.

“We don’t have it under control,” Michael Steinback, assistant director for the FBI told a congressional committee. “Absolutely, we’re doing the best we can. If I were to say that we had it under control, then I would say I know of every single individual traveling. I don’t. And I don’t know every person there and I don’t know everyone coming back. So it’s not even close to being under control.”

These are the same people who want to conduct background checks before any citizen may buy a gun for protection but will allow any mope who claims to be a refugee to come on over and start getting free stuff paid for by taxpayers, even if their intent is to kill those same taxpayers in repayment.

What a country! What a political party!

Refugees in Hungary. (NY Times photo)

Illegal immigrant felons may avoid deportation by donning an ‘anchor dress’

You can now add to the judicially recognized “anchor babies” concept the “anchor dress.”

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has determined that a convicted felon illegal immigrant may not yet be deported to Mexico because he identifies as a women, wears dresses and claims to have been raped and tortured by Mexican officials.

The panel said judges had erred in assuming that recent changes in Mexican law allowing same-sex marriage reflected a relaxing of attitudes toward the transgendered. According to the ruling, the evidence of abuse is based only on the word of the petitioner Erin Carey Averdano-Hernandez, which an immigration judge found “credible.”

 

In 2006, Avendano-Hernandez  committed two separate drunk driving offenses. One of these injured two people and resulted in a felony conviction. After a year in jail, he was deported to Mexico, but returned and was arrested.

The 9th Circuit judges remanded the case saying the petitioner was eligible to stay in the U.S. under the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

To those judges the word of a deportee effectively takes precedent over any presumption of law abiding by Mexican officials:

The agency, however, wrongly concluded that no evidence showed “that any Mexican public official has consented to or acquiesced in prior acts of torture committed against homosexuals or members of the transgender community.” In fact, Avendano-Hernandez was tortured “by . . . public official[s]”—an alternative way of showing government involvement in a CAT applicant’s torture. 8 C.F.R. § 1208.18(a)(1). Avendano-Hernandez provided credible testimony that she was severely assaulted by Mexican officials on two separate occasions: first, by uniformed, on-duty police officers, who are the “prototypical state actor[s] for asylum purposes,” BoerSedano, 418 F.3d at 1088, and second, by uniformed, onduty members of the military. Such police and military officers are “public officials” for the purposes of CAT.

 

 

No sane country for old men

Obama reads his amnesty speech

First Obama waved his magic pen and granted those brought into the country illegally as children to stay without fear of deportation. Now he is unilaterally granting their parents green cards and Social Security cards. Perhaps second cousins will be given free airline tickets next.

An opponent of this kind of action once said:

“If making it easy to be an illegal alien isn’t enough, how about offering a reward for being an illegal immigrant? No sane country would do that, right? Guess again. If you break our laws by entering this country without permission and give birth to a child, we reward that child with U.S. citizenship and guarantee access to all public and social services this country provides. Now that’s a lot of services. Is it any wonder that two-thirds of the babies born at taxpayer expense at county run hospitals in Los Angeles are born to illegal alien mothers?”

First, it was babies born here, then children brought here and then their parents.

The “opponent,” of course, was Nevada Sen. Harry Reid who spoke those words on the floor of the Senate in 1993.

These days Harry gets up in the morning and pledges allegiance to the Democratic Party — not his insane country — and the power for which it stands.

By the way, that Earned Income Tax Credit that can come with that Social Security card can be quite lucrative, as The Daily Caller points out.

Under the EITC, two parents earning less than $47,000 in 2014 could get a $6,000 tax credit. Those with incomes of around $20,000 could get nearly $15,000. Nearly half of all legal and illegal immigrants have income below the poverty level.

No sane country gives away money to people who violate their laws.