Feb 2, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed as DHS secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas

Photo: Joshua Roberts-Pool/Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, 56-43.

Why it matters: Mayorkas is an Obama administration alum and oversaw the implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. He will be the first Latino and immigrant to hold the job, which largely oversees immigration issues in the U.S.

  • Mayorkas nomination was initially delayed by Republicans, but several Republicans voted with Democrats to break the filibuster allowing the confirmation to move forward.
  • Mayorkas' confirmation vote was then scheduled for Monday evening but was delayed due to bad weather in Washington, D.C.
  • DHS has gone without a Senate-confirmed secretary since Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was booted from her role in 2019.

Of note: Beyond immigration, Mayorkas will also play a leading role in tackling domestic terrorism threats, including the Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol.

  • He'll further be tasked with addressing the SolarWinds cyberattack on the U.S., which intelligence says was conducted by Russian operatives. Former President Trump sought to downplay the attack and suggested it could have been China instead.
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