Biden picks Cuba-born immigrant to lead Homeland Security
WASHINGTON, Nov 24: US President-elect Joe Biden signalled a sharp reversal Monday from Donald Trump's anti-immigrant policies with the choice of Cuba-born Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security.
The former federal prosecutor ran US immigration services and then was DHS deputy secretary in the Obama-Biden administration.
Most notably Mayorkas, who turns 61 on Tuesday, oversaw the implementation of DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, meant to offer a way to citizenship for millions of longtime US residents who entered the country illegally. Under Trump that effort was halted and challenged in courts, as part of the White House's determined effort against undocumented immigrants.
Mayorkas will be the first immigrant himself to lead the sprawling DHS bureaucracy, whose mission is focused firstly on protecting the country from terror and cyber attacks and natural disasters.
In a tweet, Mayorkas pointed to his own history as a refugee as shaping his view of the job.
His mother was a Romanian Jew who fled to Cuba, and his father a Cuban Jew who brought the family to the United States in 1960 before Mayorkas' first birthday.
"When I was very young, the United States provided my family and me a place of refuge," he wrote.
"Now, I have been nominated to be the DHS secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones." -AFP