Carper Statement on the Nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas to Serve as DHS Secretary

WILMINGTON, Del. – Today, U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), a senior member and former Chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee (HSGAC), released the following statement regarding President-elect Joe Biden’s nomination of Alejandro “Ali” Mayorkas to serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“DHS is an agency with a budget of over $50 billion. The 240,000 men and women who work at the agency are charged with such critical missions as protecting our country from ever-evolving domestic and foreign threats, responding to national disasters, and securing our elections against foreign interference. As we see record-breaking storms, floods and fires fueled by climate change, continued irregular migration to our southern border, and the highest number of hate crimes in a decade, it is more important than ever that we have qualified and steady leadership at the Department to help us tackle these challenges and create a safer and more secure country for every American.

“I have had the pleasure and the privilege of working with Ali Mayorkas during his many years of service at the Department of Homeland Security. He is a man of great integrity and principle, with an incomparable work ethic, who understands the complexities of this critical agency and the threats facing our country. I can think of no better choice to help rebuild, refocus and lead the Department in this moment than Ali Mayorkas.

“Joe Biden’s selection of Ali is undoubtedly historic. Ali was born in Havana, Cuba and understands firsthand what it’s like for a family to come to the United States in search of refuge. He will become the first immigrant and first Latino to lead this consequential agency. But nominating Ali also shows just how much our President-elect values experience and expertise. Ali Mayorkas has held numerous positions within the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice. Most recently, Ali served as DHS Deputy Secretary during which time he helped implement the program to protect DREAMers, led the Department’s response to Zika and Ebola and drafted and shepherded through Congress cybersecurity legislation to help DHS better protect our ‘.gov’ and private sector networks, among many other accomplishments. He is not an ideologue with a partisan agenda. He is a thoughtful, policy-minded individual who has spent much of his career learning about these agencies by working his way up and collaborating with career civil servants.

“During the Trump Administration, DHS became an agency focused almost solely on implementing draconian measures to curb immigration, while demonizing immigrants in the process. This country has always been a beacon for the oppressed, the marginalized, the persecuted around the world. Under President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas’ leadership, I know that we can be again. We can once again implement smart solutions that have proven effective to protect our country. We can work constructively with our neighbors in the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala and recommit to addressing the endemic violence, corruption, poverty and lack of opportunity that forces too many families to flee the only home they’ve ever known. And we can also get back to the critical, nonpartisan work of improving DHS’ management and mission cohesion that has too often been given short shrift during the Trump Administration.

“I want to extend my sincerest congratulations to my friend Ali on his nomination. I am supremely confident that he will provide the leadership that this agency so desperately needs. As our country faces so many unprecedented challenges, it more important than ever that the Department of Homeland Security is able to hit the ground running on day one. That is why it is so crucial that the Government Services Administration (GSA) finally ascertain the results of the election, allow the Biden-Harris Transition to begin the hard work of organizing a government, and allow us to bring these qualified and capable nominees before the Senate for a confirmation hearing in the very near future.”