Clean Sweep: None of Top Three at DHS Has Immigration Experience

By David North on November 5, 2013

Yesterday's DHS press release announcing the appointment of Stevan E. Bunnell as the department's general counsel, confirms it.

Not one of the top three positions at the Department of Homeland Security is filled by a person with any substantial immigration experience.

Here's the line-up at the moment:

  • Secretary-to-be, Jeh (pronounced "Jay") Johnson, formerly general counsel at the Defense Department, and one-time Democratic fundraiser, awaiting confirmation;

  • Acting Secretary Rand Beers, who holds the permanent title of under secretary, who announced Bunnell's appointment, and who was acting deputy secretary before becoming acting secretary; and

  • Bunnell, who appears to have been a career federal prosecutor, although he spent a couple of years in private practice.

All three have serious anti-terrorism credentials, each has a single Ivy League degree (unlike such double-Ivies as George W. Bush and Mr. and Mrs. Obama), each has an unusual first name, but none of their resumes mentions the word "immigration".

Another top leadership position at DHS is that of deputy secretary; Alejandro Mayorkas, the director of USCIS, has been nominated for the position by the president, but his confirmation has been held up by the Senate pending the outcome of an investigation by the acting inspector general of DHS. He and Bunnell have both been partners in the big LA law firm O'Melveny & Myers, but at different times and on different coasts — Mayorkas in LA and Bunnell here in Washington.

Perhaps it is just as well that none of the three have immigration backgrounds; Obama administration appointees with such resumes (like former Secretary Janet Napolitano) have tended to be overly enthusiastic about increasing immigration to well beyond current levels.