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Alejandro Mayorkas, nominee to be Secretary of Homeland Security (Photo credit: Reuters)
Alejandro Mayorkas, nominee to be Secretary of Homeland Security (Photo credit: Reuters)

US Senate confirms Biden's pick for Homeland Security chief

ANI | Updated: Feb 03, 2021 05:21 IST

Washington [US], February 3 (ANI): The Senate on Tuesday voted to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas after a Republican effort stalled confirmation of President Joe Biden's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
According to The Hill, Mayorkas was one of the first of President Biden's Cabinet nominees to gather significant pushback from Senate Republicans. He was confirmed by a 56-43 vote.
Senator John Cornyn lead an effort to have Mayorkas go through a second confirmation hearing before the Judiciary Committee, and Senator Josh Hawley putting a hold on him after he appeared before the Homeland Security Committee.
Hawley objected to Mayorkas over his statement that he would support Biden's efforts to stall construction of the border wall that was President Donald Trump's signature issue.
Mayorkas also said that he would advocate for Biden's immigration package, which would provide an eight-year path to citizenship for some 11 million undocumented people.
Hawley said Mayorkas "has not adequately explained how he will enforce federal law and secure the southern border."
"The tradition has been, understandably, that national security positions within the incoming administration are confirmed on the day of the Inauguration," former George W. Bush DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff said of Republican opposition, as quoted by The Hill.

Mayorkas is the first Latino and the first immigrant to lead the agency. He joins the Biden administration after serving under President Obama, first as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and then as deputy director of DHS, the American media outlet further reported.
CNN reported that Several GOP senators, led by Texas Sen. John Cornyn, called for the additional hearing, citing Mayorkas' role overseeing many of the Biden administration's immigration policies.
"The Committee on the Judiciary has jurisdiction over matters relating to immigration and nationality ... For this reason, all members of the committee should have the opportunity to hear from Mr. Mayorkas directly, and to publicly discuss with him his plans with respect to the Department's immigration components and functions," a letter from the senators said making their request as quoted by CNN.
According to The Hill, Mayorkas' confirmation means that he will also lead a family reunification task force designed by Biden to connect 545 children with their parents after being separated at the border by the Trump administration.
"The Department of Homeland Security bears an extraordinary weight on behalf of the American people -- the weight of grave challenges, seen and unseen. Cyberattacks that undermine our security and the integrity of our information systems," he said when testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
"The threat of both foreign and domestic terrorism. Pandemics that throw every part of American life off of its axis. And extreme weather events that threaten lives and livelihoods," Mayorkas added.
Earlier in the day, Senate voted to confirm Pete Buttigieg as transportation secretary, making him the first Senate-confirmed LGBTQ Cabinet secretary. The upper chamber of the US Congress voted 86-13 to approve Buttigieg's nomination. (ANI)