The Inspector General’s office issued a report this week, addressing allegations that Deputy DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas exerted improper influence on the immigration process, giving priority to specific applicants who had close connections (including financial connections) to various Democratic legislators.
Thanks to an “employee whistleblower” we now know that yes, it appears that Mayorkas, a top administration official, was using his position to advocate for politically-connected immigrants, and yes, much of that influence came as the result of pressure from higher up. According to the Free Beacon, Harry Reid was one of those officials putting pressure on the immigration process, trying to help well-connected Chinese casino investors get visas, despite warnings from immigration officials, and despite the fact that they also, conveniently, donated to Harry Reid’s campaign.
The Senate’s top Democrat was more deeply involved than previously known in an effort to secure U.S. visas for Chinese investors in a Las Vegas casino despite the concerns of career federal officials, according to an inspector general report released on Tuesday.
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) and his staff received weekly updates from top officials at U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) regarding the status of visas for investors in the SLS Las Vegas Hotel and Casino, the report reveals.
Executives at the casino’s parent company, a client of Reid’s son Rory, donated thousands of dollars to Reid’s campaign after he helped speed consideration of its applications for visas for its Chinese investors.
That expedited consideration came despite warnings from career USCIS officials that applicants had forged paperwork, tried to conceal the sources of their investment, and, in one case, had ties to a child pornography business.
The last part is really the key. These weren’t a group of horribly downtrodden individuals looking to seek shelter on America’s shores. They were wealthy, well-connected International businessmen with shady records, who needed visas by a certain date in order for the casino to ensure their cooperation. Harry Reid, out of the goodness of his heart, apparently, stepped in and went to bat.
When contacted, the Senator’s office said that the effort was completely philanthropic, and that Reid was only concerned with how quickly the SLS casino, which replaced the old Sahara on the north end of the Las Vegas strip, could be up and operational. After all, thousands of Nevada jobs depended on it. It only so happened that Rory Reid, Harry’s son, was an attorney working on the SLS project (though, admittedly, it seems, in a capacity unrelated to the visa situation). But, after the Chinese businessmens’ visas had been safely acquired, the man who brought Reid’s son on to the case, gave a hefty donation to Harry’s re-election fund.
You can read the rest at the Beacon. Trust me, you’re going to get pretty upset, especially when you find out how much time and energy was spent trying to bring over some pretty awful people – and worse, for a pretty awful hotel and casino. The SLS Las Vegas may be the natural extension of the Miami hotel (after all, where do you go to get more risque than Miami if not Las Vegas), but the whole hotel is just a construction shell with a bunch of creepy photos of dressed-up monkeys. It has a nice pool and a Fred Segal, but that’s not enough to get me to make a stop off between Caesars and downtown.
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