It’s official, by a 56-43 vote, the Senate has voted to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security. The confirmation makes Mayorkas the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the agency in its twenty year history.
The approval arrives on the same day President Biden is expected to sign more executive orders addressing actions on immigration, including one to begin to reunite migrant children separated from their parents after crossing the United States border.
Mayorkas previously worked for DHS under the Obama Administration as the deputy secretary. The Cuban immigrant spoke about his heritage and his own immigration story during his confirmation hearings saying that “[T]he principles of homeland and security have been tremendously important in shaping my life. My father and mother brought me to this country to escape communism and to provide me with the security, opportunity, and pride that American citizenship brings to each of us”.
“I was raised to appreciate each day what this country has meant for our family, and the blessing it is to know it as our homeland,” he added.
Though the Senate approval was largely partisan, six GOP senators voted to confirm Mayorkas as DHS secretary. They are: Capito of West Virginia, Murkowski of Alaska, Sullivan of Alaska, Romney of Utah, Collins of Maine and Portman of Ohio.
One of the first tasks on Mayorkas giant list? Reuniting migrant families that were separated via the cruel immigration policies of the Trump Administration. The DHS also faces rising worries of domestic terror. Last week DHS issued a bulletin warning of a continued threat from domestic violent extremists.
“It is no small task to lead the Department of Homeland Security,” said Mayorkas upon confirmation, “but I will work to restore faith in our institutions, and protect our security here at home.”