Mayorkas is first Latino and first immigrant to move the division, which oversees immigration and home safety.
President Joe Biden’s nominee for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, was confirmed Tuesday by the United States Senate.
Mayorkas, who was confirmed by a 56-43 vote, was the primary of Biden’s cupboard picks to face main Republican backlash within the chamber, together with a filibuster, which Democrats broke on Thursday.
The Cuban-born Mayorkas is the primary Latino head of homeland safety and in addition the primary immigrant to move the division, which was created in 2002 and oversees an array of immigration, counterterrorism, catastrophe reduction, border safety and cybersecurity.
Mayorkas, who beforehand served because the DHS deputy secretary and director of the US Citizenship and Immigration Services below former President Barack Obama, is the primary confirmed official to move the division since former President Donald Trump’s appointee, Kirstjen Nielsen was compelled to resign in April 2019.
During his listening to earlier than the Senate Committee on Homeland Security, Mayorkas stated he would assist the Biden administration oversee the unravelling of Trump’s immigration insurance policies, ceasing funding to the border wall, and overhauling Trump’s stymieing of the asylum course of.
He stated he didn’t help defunding Immigration and Customs Control, as progressives have referred to as for.
Mayorkas additionally referred to as the specter of home extremism within the wake of the US Capitol riot on January 6 “one of the greatest challenges the Department of Homeland Security confronts, and it has unique capabilities in confronting that challenge”.
The affirmation comes hours after Pete Buttigieg, a centrist Biden opponent throughout the Democratic major, was confirmed as transport secretary by an 86-13 vote. He is the primary overtly homosexual Senate-confirmed Cabinet secretary in US historical past.
Biden’s Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen have all been confirmed by the Senate since Biden took workplace.
Immigration, threats of extremism and cyberattacks
The affirmation of Mayorkas grew to become an more and more pressing matter for the Biden administration in current days, with nominees of earlier presidents, Trump and Obama, confirmed on their first day in workplace.
On Friday, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, citing a Republican-made delay within the affirmation of Mayorkas, stated an govt order launching a household reunification activity drive had been pushed again.
The affirmation additionally comes days after the appearing head of the division issued a bulletin that warned “ideologically-motivated violent extremists” might be emboldened by the lethal January 6 riot on the US Capitol and “could continue to mobilise to incite or commit violence”.
DHS can be set to help in coronavirus vaccine distribution and Mayorkas will take workplace amid a push to answer the so-called SolarWinds cyberattack, which noticed the widespread hacking of a number of federal businesses. The scope of the assault remains to be being decided.
Republican Senator Josh Hawley, a member of the homeland safety committee, initially moved to dam fast-tracking Mayorkas’s affirmation shortly earlier than Biden’s inauguration, saying he was dissatisfied along with his response to questions associated to the immigration disaster on the southern border.
Other Republicans raised considerations over a 2015 Inspector General report that stated Mayorkas created the looks of “special access” after intervening in a visa programme for rich traders. The report concluded that Mayorkas didn’t break any legal guidelines.
Last week, Republican Senator John Cornyn lead a bunch of seven different Republicans calling for Mayorkas to seem for a Judiciary Committee listening to earlier than his nomination.
The letter stated the committee ought to have the prospect to “publicly discuss with him his plans with respect to the Department’s immigration components and functions”.
The Democratic chair of the committee, Dick Durbin, referred to as the delay “unnecessary”, charging it could needlessly put “national security at risk”.