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Statement by Secretary Jeh C. Johnson about the DHS Inspector General’s Report Concerning Deputy Secretary Mayorkas

Release Date: 
March 24, 2015

For Immediate Release
DHS Press Office
Contact: 202-282-8010 

I have read and carefully considered the Inspector General’s report concerning Deputy Secretary Mayorkas. 

I have known Alejandro Mayorkas since I was first nominated in the fall of 2013 to be Secretary of Homeland Security. I work with him virtually every day. I know Ali to be an exceptionally conscientious, honest and patriotic public official. Like me, he is often impatient with our sluggish government bureaucracy, can at times be very hands-on in resolving issues and problems that are brought to his personal attention, and is always mindful that we are public servants. Ali works hard to do the right thing, and never acts, in my observation, for reasons of personal advancement or aggrandizement. These personal attributes are reflected in the Inspector General’s report. 

I continue to have full confidence in Ali Mayorkas. He is doing an outstanding job as Deputy Secretary. He is a valuable, hard-working and energetic leader who cares about our people and treats them with respect. He is indispensable to me in our efforts to bring about some tough reforms for the Department of Homeland Security. He has embarked on an aggressive campaign to improve morale within DHS, and he has personally overseen a number of badly-needed management changes.

I believe there are lessons to be learned from the Inspector General’s report – by Ali, and all of us who are leaders in public service. Each of us in leadership must be mindful that, when we become involved in individual matters that happen to reach our desk, we risk the appearance of preferential treatment and the suspicion of our subordinates. As public servants, we must maintain the trust and confidence of all those around us, and be above reproach. I have discussed this with Deputy Secretary Mayorkas and I am confident he understands this.

Finally, as a separate matter, though the EB-5 program is a popular tool for economic development and investment in this country, I have ongoing concerns about the program. Officials of this Department are constantly contacted by outsiders – including Members of Congress of both parties –on behalf of those with an interest in the outcome of a particular EB-5 case. It has been Deputy Secretary Mayorkas himself, when he was Director of USCIS, who did much to strengthen the integrity of the program. We need to go further. I am directing the creation of a new protocol to ensure that the EB-5 program is free from the reality or perception of improper outside influence. I have asked the Department’s General Counsel, in consultation with USCIS officials who administer the EB-5 program, to develop such a protocol for my approval.  

I also ask again for Congress’ help. In the past, this Department has sought unsuccessfully from Congress a number of statutory enhancements to the program’s integrity, including added legal discretion to deny or revoke cases when necessary, authority to exclude people with criminal backgrounds from participating in EB-5 regional centers, and authority to require regional centers to certify compliance with our securities laws. The EB-5 regional center program is up for statutory renewal again this year. I urge Congress to work with the Department to strengthen the security and integrity of the program. 

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Last Published Date: March 24, 2015
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