Biden's Homeland Security Advisory Council

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word

By David North on March 18, 2022

That line from “Home on the Range”, came to me as I looked over the list of 33 Americans just named to the Homeland Security Advisory Council by DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas — none of whom are likely to disagree with him.

During the Kennedy and Johnson administrations I used to play a secondary role with such committees, and I have sense of how they are constituted; in general terms, they are designed to advance the administration’s goals and to provide a sounding board for senior officials. They do not make policy; appointments to these entities are also a way of rewarding friends and allies.

As I looked over the long list (below), I recognized some familiar patterns. There is the usual list of corporate CEOs; this time they include those from both American and United Airlines plus General Motors, Bank of America, Duke Energy, Oracle, and others.

Then there are the former federal officials. This collection includes former DHS Secretary Michael Chertoff (who gave us the OPT foreign workers program); two former Democratic members of Congress from California, Jane Harman and Leon Panetta (who earned D+ and F- grades, respectively, on immigration from NumbersUSA); and Jamie Gorelick, Obama’s deputy attorney general.

Then there is an ample sprinkling of people with Hispanic (at least two), Arab, and Asian (again, at least two) names. There are two people from Brookings, an open-doors institution, and several well-known anti-restrictionists, such as Wendy Young, now with Kids in Need of Defense, and Janet Murguía, president and chief executive officer of UnidosUS, once known as the National Council of La Raza.

Who is not represented?

As one who has been in the immigration policy business for decades, I could not see a single name known to worry about too much migration, though perhaps someone will surprise me; certainly no organization with hesitations about immigration is on the list.

Further, there is no one from organized labor, surprising for a Democratic administration.

How about African-Americans, a part of our society highly likely to be negatively impacted by too many foreign workers? While there may be a Black person or three among those whose names are new to me, there is no mention of the Urban League or the NAACP. The one clearly identifiable Black person on the list is one of the many law enforcement types; she is Lynda R. Williams, immediate past president of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE); love those initials!

Given the size of the list, you might imagine that there is a Native American on it, and you would be right. A Navajo or a Cherokee, perhaps, each with 200,000 tribal members? Someone, perhaps a Sioux, from west of the Mississippi? The answer to both questions is no.

The lone Native American on the committee is from a tiny tribe with two hundred members or so located on Martha’s Vineyard. She is Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman of the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah; she lives on tribal land in the middle of the town of Aquinnah, a name changed from that of Gay Head 25 years ago. That little town, in turn, is on a peninsula on the far west side of the Vineyard. From what I can tell from the property maps for the town, the tribal properties are all inland, away from the more valuable sea-side lots.

While Andrews-Maltais may be a terrific person, and knowledgeable about homeland security issues, to have her as the sole representative of Native Americans is roughly comparable to having the owner of one of the Virgin Islands’ two dairy farms appointed to a national committee on agriculture to represent that industry generally.

After all, who in the American population has been the most negatively impacted by international migration than our Native peoples?

The complete list of members follows:

  • Jayson Ahern, principal, The Chertoff Group
  • John Allen, president, The Brookings Institution
  • Dmitri Alperovitch, co-founder and chairman, Silverado Policy Accelerator
  • Marc Andreessen, co-founder and general partner, Andreessen Horowitz
  • Cheryl Andrews-Maltais, chairwoman, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head Aquinnah
  • Mary Barra, chair and chief executive officer, General Motors Company
  • Tarika Barrett, chief executive officer, Girls Who Code
  • Noah Bookbinder, president and chief executive officer, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW)
  • Safra Catz, chief executive officer, Oracle Corporation
  • Catherine Chen, chief executive officer, Polaris
  • Michael Chertoff, former secretary of DHS and co-founder, The Chertoff Group
  • Carrie Cordero, senior fellow and general counsel, Center for a New American Security (CNAS)
  • Lynn Good, chair, president, and chief executive officer, Duke Energy
  • Jamie Gorelick, partner, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, LLP
  • Danielle Gray, executive vice president and global chief legal officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
  • Jane Harman, distinguished fellow and president emerita, The Woodrow Wilson Center
  • Robert Isom, incoming chief executive officer, American Airlines
  • Carie Lemack, co-founder, Zed Factor Fellowship
  • Scott Kirby, chief executive officer, United Airlines Holdings, Inc.
  • Michael Masters, national director and chief executive officer, Secure Community Network
  • Brian Moynihan, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, Bank of America
  • Janet Murguía, president and chief executive officer, UnidosUS
  • Leon Panetta, former secretary of defense and chairman, The Panetta Institute for Public Policy
  • Ted Schlein, general partner, Kleiner Perkins, and executive chairman, Ballistic Ventures
  • Sonal Shah, executive vice president, Worldwide Network Operations, United Way Worldwide, and founding president, The Asian American Foundation
  • Ali Soufan, chairman and chief executive officer, The Soufan Group, LLC
  • Todd Stern, nonresident senior fellow, The Brookings Institution
  • Vincent Talucci, executive director and chief executive officer, International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
  • Jonathan Thompson, executive director and chief executive officer, National Sheriffs’ Association
  • Hamdi Ulukaya, founder and chief executive officer, Chobani, LLC
  • Lynda R. Williams, immediate past president, National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE)
  • Patrick Yoes, national president, Fraternal Order of Police
  • Wendy Young, president, Kids In Need of Defense (KIND)