January 03, 2021

Durbin Speaks with Biden Nominee for DHS Secretary, Ali Mayorkas

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Democratic Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Ranking Member of the Senate Judiciary Immigration Subcommittee, today spoke with President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary, Alejandro “Ali” Mayorkas.  If confirmed by the Senate, Mr. Mayorkas would be the first Hispanic and the first immigrant to lead DHS.

“Mr. Mayorkas is an exceptionally qualified nominee to run the Department of Homeland Security.  During our call today, we discussed the harm done to human rights and the disgraceful treatment of immigrants and refugees under the Trump Administration.  Separating thousands of children from their parents at the border.  Issuing a travel ban targeting Muslim-majority countries.  Attempting to end deportation protections for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who know no home other than America.  Mr. Mayorkas and I agreed that the Biden-Harris Administration has much work to do to restore America’s moral standing. 

“The son of a Holocaust survivor and an immigrant from Cuba, Mr. Mayorkas knows firsthand the beacon of hope and promise that America can be to those facing persecution.  I believe that Mr. Mayorkas can restore integrity and decency at DHS, and I urge my colleagues to support his nomination.”  

In 2008, President-elect Barack Obama selected Mr. Mayorkas to lead the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division’s Transition Team.  President Obama then nominated, and the Senate confirmed, Mr. Mayorkas in August 2009 to serve as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.  He developed and implemented within sixty days the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Program (DACA), through which more than 700,000 youth have benefited.  In 2013 President Obama appointed and the Senate confirmed Mr. Mayorkas to serve as the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. 

For his service as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, Mr. Mayorkas received the Department’s Distinguished Service Award, its highest civilian honor; the U.S. Coast Guard’s Distinguished Service Award; a special commendation from the National Security Agency for his achievements in national security and, specifically, cybersecurity; and, numerous additional awards and commendations.

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