Mayorkas Confirmed as New DHS Deputy Secretary

After a protracted series of political maneuverings in the Senate, which obstructed his nomination for several months, Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed as the new Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he will be second in command to the new DHS Secretary, Jeh Johnson. [See Mayorkas Confirmed for Homeland Security Post, Tom Hamburger, Washington Post, 20.Dec.2013, and President Obama Appoints Jeh Johnson to Head DHS, MurthyBlog, 29.Oct.2013.)

As the Washington Post notes, Mr. Mayorkas is among the beneficiaries of a recent Senate rule change that allows presidential appointees to be confirmed by a simple majority vote, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that had stalled so many nominations up to that point.

Since 2009, Mayorkas – a Cuban immigrant and former U.S. Attorney for southern California – had served as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), a sub-agency of DHS. His tenure there was not wholly without controversy, and some Republicans have accused him of mishandling the investor visa program, as the Washington Post points out, but generally he is thought to be a smart and capable manager.

We congratulate Mr. Mayorkas on his new position, and wish him all the best. For his sake – and for the sake of our country, which desperately needs immigrant talent, creativity, and brainpower – we hope Mr. Mayorkas will soon have a modernized and streamlined immigration statute to administer!

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