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Politics Alejandro Mayorkas could bring stability to DHS after years of interim leadership

03:05  24 november  2020
03:05  24 november  2020 Source:   cnn.com

Alejandro Mayorkas picked as first Latino to head DHS as Biden builds out diverse foreign policy team

  Alejandro Mayorkas picked as first Latino to head DHS as Biden builds out diverse foreign policy team President-elect Joe Biden chose Alejandro Mayorkas, who arrived as a refugee from Cuba, to lead the Department of Homeland Security. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) The choice was one of several announced Monday that would create one of the most diverse foreign-policy staffs in history. Biden also plans to nominate Avril Haines, the former deputy director of the CIA, to serve as Director of National Intelligence. If confirmed, Haines would be the first woman to lead the intelligence community. And while the president-elect’s pick for U.S.

Alejandro N. Mayorkas (born November 24, 1959) is a Cuban-American lawyer who served as the Deputy Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security from December 23

Alejandro Mayorkas will run the Homeland Security Department and Avril Haines will serve as Director of National Intelligence, while John Kerry has been tapped as climate czar. John Kerry, Alejandro Mayorkas , Avril Haines among Joe Biden’s cabinet picks.

Former Obama administration official Alejandro Mayorkas was tapped Monday to lead the Department of Homeland Security by President-elect Joe Biden, signaling an intent to bring experienced leadership to the third-largest federal department after years of instability.

Joe Biden, Alejandro Mayorkas are posing for a picture: In this February 17, 2015, file photo, then-Vice President Joe Biden speaks alongside Amy Pope, then-senior director at the National Security Council, and Ali Mayorkas, then-Department of Homeland Security deputy secretary, during a White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington. © Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images In this February 17, 2015, file photo, then-Vice President Joe Biden speaks alongside Amy Pope, then-senior director at the National Security Council, and Ali Mayorkas, then-Department of Homeland Security deputy secretary, during a White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington.

The announcement was immediately met with praise from immigrant advocates and Democratic lawmakers, as well as former and current officials who have expressed concern over the politicization of the department from some of its top leaders.

Biden taps Alejandro Mayorkas as first immigrant to lead DHS

  Biden taps Alejandro Mayorkas as first immigrant to lead DHS Mayorkas, a Cuban immigrant who arrived in the U.S. as a political refugee, would also become the first Latino to lead the department.Mayorkas, a Cuban immigrant who arrived in the U.S. as a political refugee, would be the first immigrant secretary and first Latino to lead the department, a bureaucratic juggernaut with more than 240,000 employees responsible for border and transportation security, immigration enforcement, cybersecurity, natural disaster response and other law enforcement functions.

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“Morale has been low in the department for quite a number of years , and it is our responsibility to address it, and we are in fact addressing it,’’ said Alejandro Mayorkas , the The department ’s woes date to the George W. Bush administration. Within a few years after DHS began operations in 2003

Over the last four years, the rotating acting leadership at DHS has disrupted some of President Donald Trump's actions, including a second attempt to curtail the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. It's also contributed to unpredictability within the department.

In responding to the news, Mayorkas alluded to the challenges facing DHS and cited his background as an immigrant.

"When I was very young, the United States provided my family and me a place of refuge. Now, I have been nominated to be the DHS Secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones," Mayorkas tweeted.

If confirmed, Mayorkas would be the first Latino and immigrant to serve at the helm of the department, which has been pounded and dragged into politics under Trump.

Biden's emerging Cabinet signals a return to diplomacy and process

  Biden's emerging Cabinet signals a return to diplomacy and process As the names of members of President-elect Joe Biden’s diverse Cabinet have begun to emerge, the U.S. is poised to make a sharp departure from the Trump administration’s confrontational approach to foreign policy. In selecting veteran, tight-knit officials who prize diplomacy and process over the disruptive brinksmanship of the last four years, Biden is looking to return the U.S. to a leadership role in world affairs. “These individuals are“These individuals are equally as experienced and crisis-tested as they are innovative and imaginative,” Biden said in a Monday statement about his selections.

Over the past year , and particularly since the tenure of Director Alejandro Mayorkas began, USCIS This will require that USCIS leadership provide critical new directives and guidance, both internally Together, we look forward to continuing to provide thoughtful research and proposals that can help

Alejandro Mayorkas , who served as the Department of Homeland Security ’s deputy secretary during the Obama administration, would be the first The Commerce Department could be a place for Biden to reach across the aisle and appoint a Republican secretary, people close to the transition say, and

Mayorkas had been the rumored pick for weeks -- a welcome selection among some current and former officials who emphasized the need for a leader with experience at DHS. And to that end, Mayorkas has plenty.

Under Obama, Mayorkas served as both the DHS deputy secretary and the director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services, an immigration agency within the department, where he was integral to the implementation of DACA. The program, which the Trump administration has tried to end, shields from deportation undocumented immigrants who came to the US as children.

Mayorkas will likely play a key role in rolling back Trump administration immigration policies, given that many of those changes came out of DHS. He is intimately familiar with the agency -- USCIS -- at the center of some of the most restrictionist policies, including those making asylum exceedingly difficult to obtain.

President-elect Joe Biden's top-level appointees and Cabinet picks

  President-elect Joe Biden's top-level appointees and Cabinet picks President-elect Joe Biden has announced some of his Cabinet picks ahead of Senate confirmations hearings along with top-level appointees that will join his White House. Here's a look at Biden's picks for the top posts in his administration:

Terms of Service . Another indication the watermark theory could be true is an Executive Order President Trump signed in 2018 that allowed DHS to work with election officials in all 50 states and over 1,000 local jurisdictions to secure election systems.

ancllmmigration Services . ,Memorandum. TO, Alej andro N. Mayorkas , Director. USC/S could work more aggressively with the Department of Commerce (DOC) to complement important economic initiatives such as Invesf ill America. Implementation method: Proposed and interim final regulations.

Since Trump took office, DHS has had five secretaries, only two of whom have been confirmed by the Senate, and has run into a flurry of questions over the legitimacy and authority of those leading in acting capacities. The last Senate-confirmed secretary was Kirstjen Nielsen. She left in April 2019.

In August, Trump nominated Chad Wolf to be Homeland Security secretary, after months of Wolf serving in the post. Wolf has still not been confirmed despite a renewed push to get the nomination to the Senate floor before Inauguration Day.

"The constant revolving door is not good for long-term stability and effectiveness of what is still a new department," a former DHS official who worked with Mayorkas during the Obama administration told CNN. "He will be able to hit the ground running and be able to be effective really early on. I can't think of anyone who is better suited to take on the leadership of the department at what is really a difficult time."

Mayorkas, who was born in Havana, Cuba, and was the highest-ranking Cuban American to serve in the Obama administration, played a part in the administration's efforts to normalize relations with Cuba.

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"As a Cuban American, it is a great honor to further President Obama's policy and build stronger relationships with the Cuban people," he said after visiting Cuba as DHS deputy secretary in 2015. "I believe that engagement with Cuba is in our interest, and will improve the lives of the Cuban people."

Mayorkas' former boss, ex-Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, was quick to laud the announcement on Monday.

"There is a way to enforce our immigration laws in a sensible, compassionate way, while pursuing immigration reform here in this country," Johnson said during a Center for a New American Security virtual panel discussion. "Ali knows how to do that. I am confident that he will take on that mission in a very competent way."

John Sandweg, a former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement who also worked with Mayorkas, called him a "great choice."

"He has strong law enforcement credentials, he will hit the ground running and he prioritizes good policy above good politics. The national security team announced so far by President-elect Biden, including Ali at DHS, is filled with competence, integrity and actual expertise," he said.

Michael Knowles, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1924, which represents USCIS employees in the national capital area, said Mayorkas was "champion of the workforce" while at USCIS. "Based on our experience with him, we can expect him to manage a healthy balance between the important mission of securing the border, enforcing our laws, while ensuring a fair and efficient legal immigration process," Knowles said.

Immigration advocates celebrate Alejandro Mayorkas as Biden's pick to run Homeland Security

  Immigration advocates celebrate Alejandro Mayorkas as Biden's pick to run Homeland Security Immigration advocates celebrated the announcement that President-elect Joe Biden intends to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas, who previously served as deputy secretary of DHS under President Barack Obama, is the son of Cuban Jews who fled Fidel Castro’s regime and arrived in the United States as refugees in 1960, less than a year after he was born. “This nomination is not only smart, it is historic,” Benjamin Johnson, executive director of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said in a statement issued Monday.

Mayorkas will also lend expertise on controlling pandemics. He was involved in DHS' infectious disease planning for Ebola and Zika, which included ensuring there was appropriate screening at airports during the Ebola outbreak, the former DHS official said.

"DHS has an enormous amount of interaction with travelers and that will be key in the response to the continuing pandemic," the former official said.

Questions about visa applications in whistleblower complaint

Mayorkas was previously confirmed three times by the Senate. He could, however, face questions about his time as director of USCIS, the federal government office responsible for legal immigration.

While in that position, career employees at the agency alleged that Mayorkas was "exerting improper influence" in the processing and adjudicating of visa applications, according to a 2015 DHS Office of Inspector General report, which stemmed from a whistleblower complaint.

Employees alleged that Mayorkas exerted influence to give individuals preference as part of the visa program, which gives residency preference to immigrants who agree to invest in the US economy and create jobs.

The government watchdog found that in three instances, Mayorkas "communicated outside of the normal adjudicatory process" and intervened in the decision-making process.

Although the inspector general could not determine the motivation behind Mayorkas' actions, they caused "significant resentment" at the agency. At the time, Mayorkas said the allegations that he provided preferential treatment and created an appearance of impropriety were "entirely unfounded."

Here are the historic firsts in Biden's administration .
Several of President-elect Joe Biden's nominees would make history if confirmed by the United States Senate to serve in top roles in his incoming administration. © Provided by CNN Since winning the election, Biden has made moves to carry out his campaign promise of building an administration that looks like and reflects the diversity of America. Vice President-elect Kamala Harris has already shattered a monumental barrier by becoming the first woman elected Vice President.

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