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Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A number of immigration and law enforcement groups are publicly backing Homeland Security nominee Alejandro Mayorkas after he failed to receive a single Republican vote when he last faced Senate confirmation, according to support letters reviewed by Axios.

Why it matters: Mayorkas would be the first immigrant and Latino to run the Department of Homeland Security, and the push from typically right-leaning law enforcement groups in particular could give him a critical boost with GOP lawmakers.

Between the lines: Mayorkas, a Cuban-American, already was a favorite among immigration advocates. Letters of support from Major County Sheriffs of America, the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, the National Fusion Center Association and the National Narcotic Officers' Associations' Coalition are being sent to the Senate this week.

  • Mayorkas "has a strong understanding of how critical state and local law enforcement and investigative agencies are in fulfilling the shared homeland security mission," Mark Keel, president of the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, wrote in his letter.
  • “We're gratified by the overwhelmingly positive reaction and strong bipartisan acclaim that Alejandro's nomination has received," Sean Savett, a Biden transition spokesperson, told Axios.

The bottom line: All of President-elect Biden's Cabinet nominees face some level of challenge if Mitch McConnell keeps his Senate majority.

  • The risk of rejection is especially acute for Mayorkas, who did not receive a single Republican vote in 2013 during his confirmation as deputy secretary of DHS because of an open IG investigation.
  • Looking ahead, he will likely face criticism over findings from 2015 that he showed favoritism toward certain applicants for a wealthy investor visa program while serving as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, as the AP reported.

Go deeper

GOP research firm aims to hobble Biden nominees

Alejandro Mayorkas. Photo: Joshua Roberts/AFP via Getty Images

The Republican-aligned opposition research group America Rising is doing all it can to prevent President Biden from seating his top Cabinet picks.

Why it matters: After former President Trump inhibited the transition, Biden is hoping the Republican minority in Congress will cooperate with getting his team in place. Biden hadn't even been sworn in when America Rising began blasting opposition research to reporters targeting Janet Yellen and Alejandro Mayorkas.

Avril Haines confirmed as director of national intelligence

Haines. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Image

Avril Haines was quickly confirmed by the Senate on Wednesday as the director of national intelligence (DNI) in a vote of 84-10.

Why it matters: Haines is the first of President Biden's nominees to receive a full Senate confirmation and she will be the first woman to serve as DNI. She's previously served as CIA deputy director from 2013 to 2015 and deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

  1. Health: Most vulnerable Americans aren't getting enough vaccine information — Fauci says Trump administration's lack of facts on COVID "very likely" cost lives.
  2. Politics: Biden unveils "wartime" COVID strategyBiden's COVID-19 bubble.
  3. Vaccine: Florida requiring proof of residency to get vaccine — CDC extends interval between vaccine doses for exceptional cases.
  4. World: Hong Kong to put tens of thousands on lockdown as cases surge.
  5. Sports: 2021 Tokyo Olympics hang in the balance.
  6. 🎧 Podcast: Carbon Health's CEO on unsticking the vaccine bottleneck.