After years of instability, the Department of Homeland Security is poised to be led by Alejandro Mayorkas. And most immigration advocates, DHS officials, and Democrats couldn’t be happier, citing his experience and ability to be “effective early on.” Immigration lawyer Carolyn Lee is optimistic: “Ali Mayorkas has the integrity and intellectual muscle to strengthen the EB-5 program, something we need right now. I think he’ll put the right people in place to realize the program’s full potential.”
The third largest-federal department, DHS, has seen a carousel of questionable leadership the past few years under the Trump Administration. Five secretaries — only two confirmed by the Senate — have led the department during that time.
Mayorkas is the counterpoint to this instability and lack of experience. During the Obama years, Mayorkas was both the DHS deputy secretary as well as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). His experience is greatly appreciated by many; and many expect immediate results from him — especially undoing many of Trump’s anti-immigration policies.
A former DHS official lauded the Mayorkas nomination: “The constant revolving door is not good for long-term stability and effectiveness of what is still a new department. He will be able to hit the ground running and be able to be effective really early on. I can’t think of anyone who is better suited to take on the leadership of the department at what is really a difficult time.”
Former acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, John Sandweg, who has worked with Mayorkas, declares him to be a “great choice” to lead the department. “He has strong law enforcement credentials, he will hit the ground running and he prioritizes good policy above good politics. The national security team announced so far by President-elect Biden, including Ali at DHS, is filled with competence, integrity and actual expertise.”
Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who was Mayorkas’ former boss, offered praise that should encourage all of those who felt immigrants were not welcome in the U.S. under Trump: ”There is a way to enforce our immigration laws in a sensible, compassionate way, while pursuing immigration reform here in this country. Ali knows how to do that. I am confident that he will take on that mission in a very competent way.”
And while Mayorkas impresses the officials, he also has a good track record with the staff he supervised. President of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 1924, Michael Knowles, represents USCIS employees and states Mayorkas was a “champion of the workforce” during his tenure at USCIS.
After years of anti-immigration rhetoric and policy that has sullied the U.S. as an attractive destination for immigrants and their families, EB-5 stakeholders and investors should breathe easy: new leadership should bring much needed experience, expertise, and change to the program and country.
Read the CNN article “Mayorkas could bring stability to DHS after years of interim leadership”
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