President-Elect Biden to Nominate Mayorkas as Head of DHS

President-Elect Joseph R. Biden has announced that he will nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). If he is confirmed by the Senate, Mayorkas, who immigrated from Cuba, would be the first Latino and the first immigrant to hold the position as the head of the largest agency in the U.S. federal government.

Background on Mayorkas

Under the Obama Administration, Mayorkas served as the Director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and then became Deputy Secretary of the DHS. During his tenure with the USCIS, his most well-known – and controversial – achievement was the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). DACA provides certain temporary protections and benefits to undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as minors.

Mayorkas’s record shows that he generally views employment-based immigration in a positive light. He has been vocally supportive of immigrant entrepreneurship and how foreign nationals help to create jobs and improve the U.S. economy. In fact, while at the DHS, Mayorkas was involved in the creation of the H-4 EAD rule, which has had a tremendous positive impact on tens of thousands of foreign national workers. Although it was controversial with some groups or organizations, there is a lot of research on this subject proving that the benefits of the H-4 EAD program far outweigh any purported downside to the U.S. job market.


Assuming he is confirmed as Director of the DHS, Mayorkas will have many responsibilities beyond just immigration issues, such as helping to combat the global pandemic. Still, there is reason to be optimistic that, under his leadership, Mayorkas will foster a more welcoming environment for immigrants than we have seen in recent years.


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