Alejandro Mayorkas is making political history…
U.S. president-elect Joe Biden has nominated the 61-year-old Cuban lawyer and former deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security as the first Latino to helm department.
Mayorkas will be tasked with rebuilding an agency that carried out some of the most draconian measures associated with President Donald Trump‘s hardline immigration policy, including family separations at the US-Mexico border.
The choice reflects Biden’s desire to construct a diverse Cabinet with experts versed in public policy and deep experience in government.
In taking over the DHS, Mayorkas faces the greatest domestic challenge.
The department became the enforcement arm of some of Trump’s most controversial programs.
His selection received an early endorsement from former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, who ran in the Democratic presidential primary and has emerged as a leading immigrants’ rights advocate.
“Alejandro Mayorkas is a historic and experienced choice to lead an agency in desperate need of reform,” Castro tweeted. “As an immigrant and a creator of the DACA program, he’s well suited to undo Trump’s damage and build a more compassionate and common sense immigration agenda.”