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Senate Confirms Mayorkas As Homeland Security Secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas is sworn in as DHS secretary. Photo via DHS.

By Steve Neavling

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as President Biden’s homeland security secretary, making him the first immigrant and Latino to lead the department.

He was confirmed by a 56-43 vote, with strong opposition from Republicans. 

Mayoraks is the first confirmed secretary in nearly two years.

About two weeks ago, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, blocked the fast-track confirmation process for Mayorkas, almost dashing Biden’s hopes for a quick confirmation. But a week later, the Senate Homeland Security Committee advanced his nomination to a full vote in Congress.

Mayorkas, 61 served as deputy homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2016 under President Obama and played a prominent role in the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). 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. 

At his confirmation hearing, Mayorakas pledged to combat homegrown domestic extremists, which has become an increasing national security threat. 

“The threat of domestic extremism is one of the greatest challenges that the Department of Homeland Security confronts,” Mayorkas said at the hearing, calling the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol “horrifying.”


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