A senior federal agent became the very first insider Wednesday to publicly expose what she stated were serious national safety concerns surrounding a controversial immigration system that has been providing Green Cards to wealthy foreigners.
Senior Special Agent Taylor Johnson mentioned her Homeland Safety investigation uncovered visa applicants from China, Russia, Pakistan and Malaysia who had been authorized in as tiny as 16 days, even though their applications “lacked standard important law enforcement” screening.
“During the course of my investigation it became extremely clear that the EB-five program has serious security challenges,” she said.
Her findings echo these reported in a series of stories this year by ABC News about the controversial program that offers wealthy foreigners the possibility to turn a $500,000 investment into a U.S. Green Card – reports that had been based on in depth interviews with five other whistleblowers. The ABC News investigation uncovered records displaying foreign applicants had effectively obtained EB-5 visas regardless of allegations of fraud, funds laundering, forgery, and other crimes against them. In 1 case, an Iranian business enterprise man was able to get recertification to participate in the program even as he was beneath active investigation for smuggling.
The program, identified by the visa designation EB-5, is designed to generate thousands of jobs by offering temporary residency and at some point Green Cards to foreigners who agree to invest extra than $500,000 in approved American ventures. The two-aspect ABC News investigation located, having said that, that the plan had grow to be a magnet for those looking for to sidestep the scrutiny of the traditional immigration method.
Johnson came forward Wednesday as portion of a U.S. Senate Hearing that was convened to bring attention to the plight of federal officials who have attempted to report wrongdoing in their agencies, only to face retaliation for stepping forward. Johnson said she mentioned she was sent an unmistakable message by senior Homeland Safety officials when she started to report them up the chain of command – back off.
“After disclosing gross mismanagement, waste and fraud that threatened the basic public’s safety, National Safety Risks and public corruption surrounding an EB-5 project, I was subjected to a substantial quantity of harassment and retaliation,” Johnson said.
“I was removed from the investigation, a shoddy comply with-up assessment was performed and then in 2013, ultimately, the investigation was shut down,” she told senators.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security responded devoid of directly addressing Johnson’s allegations, saying the agency does not comment on particular personnel matters.
“The Department of Homeland Security requires whistleblower protection quite seriously and supports the rights of whistleblowers to engage in protected activity,” mentioned Marsha Catron, a DHS spokeswoman. “Similarly, the Division requires allegations of misconduct very seriously … When both an allegation of misconduct and a claim of whistleblower protection take place, the Department follows the law to resolve these troubles appropriately.”