Senate Should Confirm DHS Nominee Alejandro Mayorkas By Inauguration Day
By John Rowe
When it comes to President-elect Biden’s cabinet nominees, the Senate needs to prioritize the nomination and confirmation of Alejandro Mayorkas for Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Both Trump and Obama got their DHS secretary picks confirmed on day 1. More than ever, our national security and economic recovery depends on having an experienced and skilled leader like Mayorkas on the first day. Senators should move quickly to confirm him. It should be an easy vote, especially for Republicans, as nobody will be “primaried” because they voted to confirm Mayorkas.
Business leaders have worked closely with Mayorkas when he was the director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and Deputy Secretary of DHS during the Obama administration. His leadership and track record are exemplary.
While at DHS, he worked to make sure our nation’s businesses had the human capital needed to create jobs and grow their local economy. He ensured smooth processing of a wide range of visas for key industries like agriculture, hospitals and manufacturing. His experience standing up the DACA program in 2012 — a model for efficient governance — has provided work permits to 690,000 Dreamers, bringing certainty to families and businesses alike. Today, many of those Dreamers are on the frontlines fighting the pandemic as doctors, paramedics and caregivers. During his tenure at DHS, Mayorkas helped reduce backlogs for people applying for citizenship while keeping fees low, helping to integrate millions of people into the fabric of American life.
Last month, Mayorkas spoke at the American Business Immigration Coalition’s Immigration Summit where he talked about how the United States provided him and his family refuge after fleeing communist Cuba.
“I am proud to have had the privilege of serving in the federal government for almost twenty years, to have had the opportunity to give back to the country that has given my family and me so very much,” he said. “Today, our immigration system is badly broken — and we all know it. The cost of that broken system is incalculably high. It represents a profound toll not only on families seeking to contribute to our nation and forge their own American dream, but on our economic prosperity and our moral authority as well.”
We couldn’t agree more. Mayorkas is the leader we need to strengthen our national security, economic recovery and long-term success. Mayorkas is the leader we need to restore trust, rebuild and modernize DHS. His confirmation is urgent, and a good place to start for federal immigration reform.
John Rowe is Chairman Emeritus of Exelon and the co chair of the American Business Immigration Coalition