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Biden appoints a Cuban-born lawyer to head the Department of Homeland Security.

“Do I think he’s further to the left of center than I would like?” Yes, ”Mr. Sweet said, adding,“ There’s no question he’s qualified for the job, period. “

Rand Beers, the Obama administration’s former acting homeland security secretary, said Mr. Biden’s choice was a clear signal that while immigration would be a priority for the department, the new administration would also strengthen its other responsibilities, such as as cybersecurity and disasters.

Mr Beers said Mr Mayorkas balanced vigilance over security threats with an interest in helping immigrants in need, highlighting his work verifying visa applications for Iraqis who have helped the US military. Mr Beers said Mr Mayorkas pushed his teams to undergo exhaustive reviews of intelligence reports in order to find communications between the candidates and suspected terrorists.

“He basically took this seriously and said we can’t ignore these reports, but we also can’t assume the level of contact,” Beers said. “He is caring, analytical and human.”

At the Homeland Security Department, Mayorkas led the agency’s response to the Ebola and Zika outbreaks, an extremely relevant experience at the moment, Biden’s transition team said on Monday. As Homeland Security Secretary, Mayorkas would oversee the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has played a leading role in helping state governments tackle the coronavirus pandemic.

“He has seen all the effects of Covid-19 in all segments of the economy and affecting all kinds of people, and he’s been immersed in that for months,” said Jamie Gorelick, partner in his law firm , WilmerHale, and former assistant. Attorney General for the Clinton administration. Ms Gorelick asked Mr Mayorkas to lead the law firm’s coronavirus task force for clients.

Mr Mayorkas also paid particular attention to Mr Trump’s efforts to overhaul the immigration system, Ms Gorelick said.

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