Today President-Elect Biden announced key members of his foreign policy and national security team. Historic nominees and appointees include the first Latino and immigrant as DHS Secretary.
Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant nominated to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security. He has led a distinguished 30-year career as a law enforcement official and a nationally-recognized lawyer in the private sector. Mayorkas served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Obama-Biden Administration from 2013 to 2016, and as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009 to 2013. During his tenure at DHS, he led the implementation of DACA, negotiated cybersecurity and homeland security agreements with foreign governments, led the Department’s response to Ebola and Zika, helped build and administer the Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking, and developed an emergency relief program for orphaned youth following the tragic January 2010 earthquake in Haiti. Mayorkas also created the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate to better ensure the integrity of the legal immigration system.
Mayorkas began his government service in the Department of Justice, where he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, specializing in the prosecution of white collar crime. After nearly nine years as a federal prosecutor, he became the youngest United States Attorney in the nation, overseeing prosecutions of national significance, including the investigation and prosecution of financial fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, public corruption, violent crime, cybercrime, environmental crime, international money laundering, and securities fraud.
Mayorkas has also led a distinguished legal career in the private sector, at O’Melveny & Myers and most recently WilmerHale, where he has specialized in strategic counseling and crisis management. He serves several non-profit organizations focused on providing legal services to the poor, refugee resettlement, and education for underprivileged youth.
Mayorkas was born in Havana, Cuba and was the highest-ranking Cuban American to serve in the Obama-Biden Administration. Mayorkas received his bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Loyola Law School.