Mayorkas named as DHS Secretary

President-elect Biden is naming Alejandro Mayorkas as the next Secretary of the Homeland Security Department, the government agency responsible for overseeing immigration.

Mayorkas brings a wealth of experience to the role. He has been one of the country’s most prominent litigators and impactful government leads in a private sector and public service career spanning more than 30 years. He has tried more than 35 cases to a jury.

As Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, Mayorkas was recognized for his prosecution in Operation Polarcap, which was then the largest money laundering case in the nation. His success led him to be appointed by President Bill Clinton as the US Attorney for the Central District of California. Under the Obama Administration, he served as Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and played a crucial role in the design and implementation of DACA. The program, which has been the subject of a slew of lawsuits, seems to have a promising outlook with this nomination. Mayorkas also previously served as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He has an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley and a law degree from Loyola Law School.

Immigration advocates are encouraged by Mayorkas’ views on education as well. While speaking about the Supreme Court’s 1982 Plyer v. Doe decision, he agreed with the Court’s findings and affirmed his belief that anyone residing in the United States, including undocumented students, has the right to a free, public education.

Mayorkas’ story is one made possible by immigrants overcoming great obstacles to pursue better lives. His mother, a Romanian Jew, escaped the holocaust and arrive in Cuba in the 1940s, where she met his father, a Sephardic Jew. In the 1960s, his family fled Cuba for Miami and settled in Los Angeles. If confirmed by the Senate, Mayorkas would be the first Latino and first immigrant to hold the position of DHS Secretary.

We came to this country as political refugees, my father did not want to live nor raise his family in a communist country…We came to the United States to be able to live in a democracy and my father wanted for his children like so many parents do a better life than he himself had enjoyed.