Senate Confirms Mayorkas as Deputy Secretary of DHS

By David North on December 23, 2013

Friday morning the U.S. Senate, by a party-line vote (54 to 41), confirmed USCIS's Director Alejandro Mayorkas' promotion to the Deputy Secretaryship of the Department of Homeland Security.

This came after protests by Republicans that it was unprecedented to confirm someone to a position while an investigation into that individual was ongoing.

Meanwhile, the 40-page text from that Inspector General investigation, which included material on Mayorkas' conduct of the EB-5 program, was released by the Washington Post about the same time that the Senate was voting. A more detailed blog on that subject will be forthcoming.

Observers noted that Mayorkas' highly controversial nomination – he was charged with intervening on behalf of politically favored EB-5 petitions – would not have happened, or would have been substantially delayed, had the Democratic majority in the Senate not changed the filibuster rules as they apply to presidential nominations. Such nominations in the past needed a 60-vote margin to succeed; a simple majority now suffices.

Musical Chairs at DHS. There are fewer empty chairs in the front office of DHS these days, with this week's Senate confirmation of Jeh C. Johnson (an ex-Pentagon official) as Secretary and of Mayorkas.

Given these confirmations, the former Acting Secretary (Rand Beers) and the former Acting Deputy Secretary (Stevan A. Bunnell) will return to their permanent positions as Under Secretaries, presumably bumping the Acting Unders that had been operating in their absences.

The lack of immigration background of any of these officials – except Mayorkas – was outlined in an earlier blog.

The Deputy and Acting Inspector General of DHS, and supervisor of the audit described above until its last couple of days, Charles K. Edwards, has resigned and taken a less prominent job in the scientific portion of DHS. (He, too, is the subject of an investigation for nepotism and some personnel matters.)

While Senate confirmation – presumably an easy one – is awaiting FDA official John Roth for the IG position, the Acting DHS IG for the moment is Carlton Mann. He is a career DHS official whose own permanent title is Assistant Inspector General for Inspections.