The U.S. Senate voted 57-43 Tuesday to confirm Alejandro Mayorkas, President Joe Biden’s pick to head the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

Mayorkas, 61, is the first immigrant and first Latino to lead the agency. Born in Cuba, he came to the U.S. when his parents fled the Cuban Revolution in 1960. He grew up in Southern California, earning his undergraduate degree from University of California, Berkeley, and his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Mayorkas served as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and as deputy secretary of DHS in the Obama administration. As USCIS director, he developed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. As deputy DHS secretary, Mayorkas oversaw the agency’s response to the Zika and Ebola outbreaks. He also implemented the first memorandum of understanding between the U.S. and Cuba. In addition to agency experience, he practiced law as a federal prosecutor in the Clinton administration and as a partner with WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., since 2016.

BAL Analysis: BAL is closely following the Biden administration’s immigration actions and will update clients as new initiatives are expected to be released in coming days.

This alert has been provided by the BAL U.S. Practice group. For additional information, please contact

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