The Rest of the Story of the Mayorkas/Edwards Feud at Homeland Security

One is under indictment, the other could be in a Biden administration

By David North on July 2, 2020

Immigration news does not consist solely of polices and numbers. Sometimes it involves interesting individuals, such as the feud seven years ago between two Obama-era appointees, both at the Department of Homeland Security. Jousting were Alejandro Mayorkas, then head of USCIS, and Charles K. Edwards, then the Acting Inspector General.

Edwards alleged that Mayorkas had bowed to political interests to advance some EB-5 (immigrant investor) applications, which the latter denied. Meanwhile there were a variety of reports about Edwards' misuse of his Acting IG's position, such as this one from TV reporter Jake Tapper.

The intervening years have been kinder to Mayorkas than to Edwards. The controversy about the EB-5 applications went away, Mayorkas was promoted to Deputy Secretary of DHS, and was confirmed by the Senate (four words we rarely see these days), and left the Obama administration before it ended to become a partner at a major D.C. law firm.

Edwards never lost the "Acting" title, and moved to another, less prominent position with the department; then he left it. Earlier this year, he was indicted in federal court for theft of government property and scheming to defraud the government.

During the Obama administration he had been accused of nepotism – he hired his wife and arranged for her to continue to work for the IG's Office while on family business in India –and there were charges that he used his IG staff to help him write his dissertation at a time when he was seeking a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University in Florida, which US News and World Report gave a (very low) rating of 246 among American universities.

Edwards' indictment in March, in federal court in the District of Columbia, rested on a different set of charges. He and his indicted colleagues were said to have illicitly taken proprietary software from the DHS IG's Office in an effort to sell an updated version of it to the IG for the Department of Agriculture. Other charges were of wire fraud and aggravated identify theft.

Although little public speculation has been printed about staffing the future Biden administration, were that to happen, Mayorkas' resume would suggest he might be considered for a significant job in either the executive or judicial branches; he once was the youngest U.S. attorney in the country, in California. I have not spoken to either man in years.