On Monday, November 23rd, President-elect Joe Biden announced plans to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas as the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If he is appointed, Mayorkas would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the DHS.
When he was a child, Mayorkas arrived in the United States as a political refugee from Cuba. His family fled when Fidel Castro’s revolutionaries took over the Cuban government to establish a communist regime. Mayorkas’ mother, a Romanian Jew, was in Cuba because she had fled from the Nazi occupation of Europe. As Secretary of the DHS, Mayorkas would be overseeing many of the same processes that allowed him and his family to obtain safety in the United States in the 1960s.
This will not be Mayorkas’ first esteemed position in a U.S. immigration agency. In 2009, he was appointed by President Obama as Director of USCIS. During his time in this position, he helped develop and implement Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). He then became Deputy DHS Secretary in 2013.
Mayorkas also has a history of prosecuting drug cartels and white supremacists, and he established the very first Civil Rights Section for the Central District of California. This section investigated issues like police misconduct and hate crimes.
Chad Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli are just two of the current DHS leaders who are in acting roles, meaning they have not been officially confirmed. For Mayorkas to take up the position of DHS Secretary next year, he will need to be confirmed by the Senate.
The likelihood of his confirmation is difficult to determine, as we will not know which party controls the Senate until we receive the results of the Georgia run-off elections in January. If he is confirmed, however, we may expect him to spearhead the reversal of many of the changes the Trump administration made to the immigration system.
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At Sintsirmas & Mueller Co. L.P.A., we are proud to have served immigrants of all statuses and backgrounds for more than 50 combined years. In this time, we have developed high-powered legal strategies, in-depth knowledge, and a wealth of resources and tactics that you need to accomplish your immigration goals. While you may not be sure of the future, you can trust our law firm to fight tirelessly for your rights and wellbeing.