Homeland Security

Senate confirms Mayorkas to Homeland Security post despite probe

The Senate on Friday confirmed a controversial official for the No. 2 position at the Department of Homeland Security, despite Republican concerns that he's the subject of an ongoing internal investigation. 

Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed on a 54-41 vote. The path to confirmation was eased by a recent Democratic move to only require 51 votes, as opposed to 60, to finalize these nominations. 

Mayorkas, who  heads U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is facing a probe regarding his decisions in a foreign investor visa program. 

Democrats say the probe has uncovered nothing improper. Mayorkas has denied any wrongdoing. 

But Republicans last week urged the Senate not to go forward with the confirmation vote until the investigation is completed. 

"If we confirm Mr. Mayorkas under a cloud, we haven't helped him, we haven't helped the Department of Homeland Security," Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., warned last week. 

Among other claims, it was reported last week that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reached out to Mayorkas to help speed along visas for foreign investors of a politically connected casino hotel in Las Vegas. 

Mayorkas was already facing scrutiny over his handling of the EB-5 program, which allows foreigners investing at least a half-million dollars in a U.S. project to seek a special visa. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.