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Alejandro Mayorkas: Secretary of Homeland Security

Alejandro Mayorkas has been confirmed as the new Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”). His appointment as Secretary of Homeland Security provides him the authority to lead the U.S. Customs and Border Protection department, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement , and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services department. He has been tasked with implementing the immigration-related executive orders signed by President Biden as well as fixing the U.S. immigration system for the benefit of all those that rely on it.

As the first immigrant to head the DHS, Alejandro has vowed to use his power toward improving the U.S. immigration system and place it in a position that reflects the principles and values in which the nation was founded on. In a press statement he said “ we will enforce our laws in a way that is humane, respects due process, and strengthens our nation and its economy.” During President Obama’s term, Alejandro was the deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and the administration Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. Under his leadership the EB-5 Immigrant Investor program saw great popularity and an increase in applicants as he introduced policies that focused on the growth of the EB-5 program.

However, some Republicans were against Mayorkas appointment on the grounds that in his prior position as the Director of USCIS he abused his powers and “exerted improper influence” by assisting wealthy foreign investors obtain visas via the EB-5 program. Additionally, the opposing Republicans pointed to the 2015 Department of Homeland Inspector General inquiry as a means to support their argument against Mayorkas being appointed as head of DHS. In the 2015 inquiry Makorkas was accused by USCIS staff for intervening in certain EB-5 applications for the benefit of the investor. The outcome of the report held that while he did intervene and his intervention caused a result which benefited the investor, they were unable to determine the true intentions of his actions and as such his actions were deemed legal. Mayorkas maintained that he intervened to improve the EB-5 process or to prevent error and not to rig the system for the benefit of any applicant.

Based on the executive orders signed by President Joe Biden on 2 February, 2021 amending immigration laws and the implementation of the policies will be at the forefront of Alejandro’s tasks. During his statement he mentioned that his previous experience in immigration will aid him in providing routes that will create a much needed stability immigration policies in the U.S.

Furthermore, his appointment will be particularly interesting with regards to the policies that he will implement for the EB-5 immigrant investor program. As he has great experience in the operations of the program and understands the benefits the program has on both the U.S. economy and labor markets, it will be intriguing to see which heights he takes the program to. 2020 came with major wins for the EB-5 program, especially after the announcement of the increased visa quotas. However, the $900,000 capital investment requirement, although increased over a year ago, may still be considered a little steep for some investors and may have caused the slight decline in EB-5 applicants in the last financial year. Therefore,  i  ndustry leaders can only hope that Mayorkas can provide policies that will once again make the EB-5 program popular among prospective investors.

Alejandro Mayorkas Background

Mr. Mayorkas previously served as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, where he managed some of the most complex and critical responsibilities of government in ensuring and prioritizing public security against terrorist attacks. Prior to becoming Deputy Secretary, Mr. Mayorkas served as Director of USCIS where he realigned the agency’s organizational structure, including the creation of the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate to more effectively prioritize the agency’s national security responsibilities.

As Deputy Secretary, Mr. Mayorkas was the Obama Administration’s highest ranking Cuban American and was named to Latino Leaders’ 2015 list of the nation’s most influential Latinos. In 2008, The National Law Journal recognized him as one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America.”

We at the American Legal Center Dubai, work with the top EB-5 attorneys in ensuring that a prospective candidate’s application is completed accurately and according to the requirements set. Our director, Shai Zamanian has been working in the GCC assisting families obtain their green cards for more than 10 years. Our team of U.S. EB-5 advisors are ready to assist you with your filing. Contact us today.


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