The Department of Homeland Security will soon have its top two positions filled following Senate confirmation Friday of Alejandro Mayorkas to be the deputy secretary.
The 54-41 vote in favor of Mayorkas included no Republicans in the majority, just as when he was approved earlier in December by the Senate panel that oversees DHS. Republicans did not want Mayorkas’ nomination to be voted on until the DHS Inspector General’s Office completed an investigation into allegations against him of misconduct.
The confirmation of Mayorkas follows Senate approval of Jeh Johnson to be the DHS Secretary. Both men are waiting to be sworn in to their new jobs.
Mayorkas is currently head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) within DHS. The IG investigation, which Senate Republicans say will be completed in February, relates to Mayorkas’ management of an immigrant visa program and potential conflicts of interest.
Democrats have said the year-old IG investigation has gone on long enough and the release of its findings has been delayed twice. They also say the IG hasn’t contacted Mayorkas and hasn’t found any criminal wrongdoing by him or anyone else at DHS.
In other personnel moves this month at DHS, former deputy assistant Attorney General for Information Resources and chief information officer (CIO) at the Justice Department, Luke McCormack, has been installed as the new DHS CIO. And, on Dec. 13, Dr. Huban Gowadia was sworn in as the director of the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office. Gowadia had serviced as acting director of the agency since 2012.
The White House on Friday also nominated Leon Rodriguez to be director of the USCIS. Rodriguez is currently director of the Office of Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services and previously was chief of staff and deputy assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Justice Department.