President Obama has nominated John Roth, a supervising investigator with the Food and Drug Administration, to fill the long-time vacancy as Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security. The IG's nomination is subject to Senate confirmation.
Roth faces two nasty challenges in his new job.
First, there is the matter of the Deputy and Acting IG, Charles Edwards. He presumably was not promoted to the IG's job because he is under fire from Senators of both parties for what the Washington Post calls "whistle blower allegations of nepotism and abuse of power", subjects covered by an earlier CIS blog.
Roth needs to decide whether to keep Edwards or to show him the door and, if the latter, does Edwards get fired or is he allowed to resign or perhaps retire.
The second immediate challenge is what does Roth do with the investigation that Edwards started against Alejandro Mayorkas, the incumbent USCIS director and the person nominated by Obama to be deputy secretary of DHS? Edwards and Mayorkas have been at loggerheads for a long time (as we reported in another previous blog) in which the IG charged that USCIS staff had been pressured to say "yes" to immigration petitions, including some questionable ones.
The Senate Judiciary Committee knows about the IG's investigation and its GOP members are holding up Mayorkas' nomination until they see the results of the inquiry. Mayorkas is still enmeshed in an EB-5 controversy involving Virginia Governor-elect Terry McAuliffe, a controversy that complicated, but did not block, the latter's election.
The substance of that investigation is not totally clear, but it obviously involves Mayorkas and decision-making in the EB-5 (immigrant investor) program.
Roth is going to have an invigorating first few weeks in the new job, once confirmed.
Musical Chairs. Meanwhile, if and when Jeh (pronounced "jay") Johnson is confirmed by the Senate as DHS secretary (he's already cleared the committee), that will cause the re-assignment of Rand Beers, who has been acting secretary for months; he holds the permanent position of under secretary
Ah, but does Rand Beers revert to under secretary or does he displace Rafael Borras as acting deputy secretary, a temporary position once held by Beers before he became acting secretary? Borras holds another permanent position of under secretary.
If Beers goes back to the under secretaryship he will be ranked by Borras, just as Beers has ranked Borras in recent months. If Beers bumps Borras as acting deputy secretary that is not the case. It is OK, by the way, for the body of readers to be baffled by all this.
Borras, like Johnson, Beers, and Roth, is a newcomer to the immigration field, but all four are old hands in Washington. For more on Borras, see his DHS biography