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Mayorkas Moves Closer to Becoming Confirmed Homeland Security Secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas

By Steve Neavling

Alejandro Mayorkas, President Biden’s nomination to lead the Department of Homeland Security, moved closer to taking the helm. 

The Senate Homeland Security Committee on Tuesday advanced his nomination to a full vote in Congress. 

“Our nation is facing historic security challenges right now, from the recent attack on our capital, two major cyber breaches of our federal agencies, and a pandemic that continues to take the lives of thousands of Americans every day,” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said, Roll Call reports. “These are serious challenges, and we need steady, qualified and experienced leaders at DHS.”

The panel approved his nomination with a 7-4 vote. Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mitt Romney of Utah joined Democrats in supporting the nomination. Last week, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, blocked the fast-track confirmation process for Mayorkas, potentially dashing Biden’s hopes for a quick confirmation.

Portman said it’s important to have a confirmed Homeland Security secretary to address numerous potential threats facing the nation. 

“We’ve got the massive cyber security attack that we aren’t talking about much because it seems like everything else has become more important, but that probably is the most significant national security threat we’ve had in this country in years,” Portman said. 

Mayorkas, 61, is poised to become the first immigrant and Hispanic to lead the department. 

Mayorkas served as deputy homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2016 under President Obama. A former U.S. attorney in California, Mayorkas also served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during Obama’s first term.  

Born in Cuba, Mayorkas and her family arrived as refugees in the 1960s, settling in Southern California. His mother was a Holocaust survivor. Mayorkas graduated from the University of California-Berkeley and earned a law degree from Loyola Law School. 


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