DHS Secretary Nielsen Is Caught Between the White House and Sen. Grassley on EB-5

By David North on June 6, 2018

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen's job just got a little worse.

Scolded by the president for the usual springtime rise in illegal border crossings, she now finds herself in a bind between the president and the Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), over the EB-5 program, which has been so useful to the president's in-laws, the Kushners. (The president may not know that warmer weather and the prospect of summer-time jobs in U.S. agriculture routinely increases border crossings at this time of year.)

DHS has been sitting on a comprehensive set of EB-5 regulations for more than 16 months, a set of changes supported by the former Obama administration and, more importantly, by Sen. Grassley, together with the former Democratic Chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Pat Leahy (D-Vt.), as well as by House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.). The changes would make life more difficult for the big-city users of the program, such as the Kushners, and push more EB-5 funds into rural areas.

On June 4 the senator wrote to the secretary:

I have received reports that certain industry groups believe the White House will never allow the regulations to go into effect. Please confirm or deny this allegation, provide my office with an update on the status of the rules, and any impediments to their finalization.

No matter what she does, Secretary Nielsen is likely to irritate some powerful folks in D.C.