President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team announced Monday afternoon plans to nominate Obama-era official Alejandro Mayorkas as its pick for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
The 60-year-old was born in Havana, Cuba, and if he is confirmed, he will be the first immigrant and Latino to head the third-largest federal department.
Mayorkas was the deputy secretary of the DHS during the final four years of the Obama administration and led the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services during President Obama’s first term. The Senate unanimously confirmed him to his USCIS post in 2009, an indication that he may be a shoo-in for the position after the Trump administration struggled for four years to keep a confirmed official atop the department.
Mayorkas oversaw the creation and implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, an executive action that permits illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children to apply for a reprieve from deportation and for the ability to work in the country. The Biden transition team touted his experience leading the DHS response to the Ebola and Zika crises during the previous administration.
He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, with a bachelor’s degree and earned his law degree from Loyola Law School. He worked three decades in the government, starting at the Department of Justice as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Central District of California and then as a federal prosecutor. He later moved to the private sector, working at O’Melveny & Myers and WilmerHale.
President Trump has appointed five DHS leaders since January 2017. The last two secretaries have worked in acting capacities. Biden has not yet nominated Mayorkas.
Author : Anna Giaritelli
Source : Washington Examiner : Biden to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas as first immigrant and Latino to lead DHS