In between leading his law firm’s response to COVID-19 and working on high-profile legal cases, Alejandro Mayorkas has spent the past four years following the Trump administration’s immigration agenda, often answering questions from his law partners on the legality of President Donald Trump’s policies. Now he will set out to roll most of them back, reports the New York Times. On Monday, President-elect Joe. Biden nominated Mayorkas to be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the Homeland Security Department, the troubled agency responsible for most of the nation’s policies on immigration, legal and illegal.
Cuban-born and a veteran of the department, Mayorkas, if confirmed, would take the lead not just on enforcing immigration and border laws, but also on providing a coordinated response to terrorism, maritime, aviation and cybersecurity threats. A former deputy secretary of homeland security, Mayorkas was seen as the candidate who could best stabilize the department, which has spent much of the last four years in turmoil. The department, which has contended with vacancies and interim leaders, has been accused of bending to Trump’s whims, whether that meant separating children from their families at the border, building a wall with Defense Department money or pulling protesters from the streets of Portland. Former Obama administration officials advising Biden’s transition team have for weeks pushed for Mayorkas, 60, in part because of his immigrant story. His family fled the Castro revolution. Advisers said the nomination would satisfy moderate Democrats, Republicans and the many officers in the department, which oversees the agencies that carry out deportations and patrol the border, while not alienating liberal Democrats.