Nicholas Wu

Savannah Behrmann
 
| USA TODAY

Alejandro Mayorkas confirmed as first Latino and immigrant to run DHS

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WASHINGTON – Alejandro Mayorkas was confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday and will turn out to be the first immigrant and first Latino to lead the Department of Homeland Security.  

Despite opposition from Republicans, Mayorkas secured sufficient votes for affirmation, by a 56-43 vote. It was one the closest votes for any of President Joe Biden’s nominees.  

Biden requested for quick affirmation of his nationwide safety nominees as he crammed his Cabinet, however Senate Republicans objected, citing considerations about how Mayorkas settled disputes in a visa program throughout a earlier submit within the division, which delayed the affirmation course of.

The Department of Homeland Security is liable for counterterrorism, cybersecurity, border safety, enforcement of U.S. immigration legal guidelines and extra. As DHS secretary, Mayorkas will lead a activity power on household separation, targeted largely on reuniting migrant dad and mom and their kids.

Mayorkas arrived within the USA from Cuba in 1960 along with his dad and mom as refugees from Fidel Castro’s regime. He has been deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and headed its citizenship company.

During his listening to, Mayorkas confronted pointed questions from Republicans about his background, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., urged them to vote in opposition to his affirmation, slamming the nominee in a  Senate flooring speech Tuesday morning as an “ethically compromised partisan lawyer.”

The Biden administration is ready to announce a sequence of govt actions Tuesday afternoon rolling again a few of President Donald Trump’s hard-line immigration insurance policies. 

More: GOP senators query Biden’s DHS nominee Alejandro Mayorkas over immigration enforcement, visas

More: 628 dad and mom stay separated from their youngsters after Trump’s zero-tolerance border coverage. Biden needs to discover them.

The visa dispute highlighted by Senate Republicans handled the EB-5 program that encourages enterprise funding to create jobs. An inspector common’s report that discovered Mayorkas communicated with stakeholders exterior the traditional course of, and with out his intervention, instances “would have been decided differently.” 

The report additionally stated Mayorkas’ actions have been authorized and “legitimately within his purview” as director. Mayorkas stated it was his job to resolve disputes in a fancy forms.

He helped create an workplace to oversee EB-5 opinions, revamped the analysis course of and enhanced this system’s fraud and safety safeguards.

Earlier Tuesday, the Senate confirmed one other historic Cabinet place: Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary. He is the first brazenly homosexual Cabinet secretary to be confirmed by the Senate. 

Buttigieg, the previous mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a Democratic presidential candidate, obtained overwhelming bipartisan assist with a 86-13 vote. 

Buttigieg stated he was “honored and humbled by today’s vote in the Senate – and ready to get to work.”

Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., the incoming Democratic chair of the panel overseeing Buttigieg’s affirmation, praised him as a “young, energetic mayor” who might “help us usher in a new era of transportation.” 

The Department of Transportation distributes billions of {dollars} in federal freeway funding and regulates aviation, railroads and busing. Biden’s infrastructure and clear vitality plan proposed inserting 500,000 charging stations alongside highways and altering federal automobiles to electrical energy. Biden signed an govt order requiring the carrying of face masks in airports, on sure public transportation and on many trains, planes and buses. 

More: Pete Buttigieg turns into first brazenly homosexual Senate-confirmed Cabinet secretary

Contributing: Bart Jansen, Nicholas Wu, Savannah Behrmann