Mississippi 2nd District Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Bolton, was among the names thrown around earlier in July as a possible replacement for former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.
Thompson, a ranking member of the House Committee on Homeland Security, said in a statement then that he wasn’t interested. It appears he was serious.
In a letter dated July 25 to President Barack Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus – of which Thompson is a member – asked Obama to nominate Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to the post. Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat whose district encompasses most of Houston, has been in Congress since the mid-1990s. She also is a ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security.
The letter says Jackson Lee “would serve as an effective DHS secretary because she understands the importance of increasing border security and maintaining homeland safety.” The letter notes that in her former position as chairwoman of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation Security and Infrastructure Protection, Jackson Lee advocated for increased airplane cargo inspections and increased railroad safety.
Obama’s eventual pick for the top spot at Homeland Security has not gotten as much attention as his nominee for the No. 2 position there. The Associated Press reported yesterday that Alejandro Mayorkas, who currently heads the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency, is under investigation by DHS’ inspector general to determine his role in securing an EB-5 visa for a well-connected foreign investor.
The EB-5 program offers permanent resident visas to foreign investors who pump a minimum of $1 million into a U.S. Economic Development project; that number drops to $500,000 for projects in economically distressed areas. One of the regional centers that administers the EB-5 program, Gulf Coast Funds, once helped GreenTech Automotive round up investors for its projects in Horn Lake and Tunica. The company builds a neighborhood electric vehicle in Horn Lake, and has plans to build full-size electric vehicles in Tunica.
To read the Black Caucus’ letter, click here.