Senate Homeland Security Committee Confirms Nomination for Deputy Secretary

Senate Homeland Security Committee Democrats are moving forward after President Obama declared this nomination for Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, despite objections made from Republicans.

Specifically, GOP members consider Alejandro Mayorkas a controversial nominee and are accusing the Democrats of pushing through the nomination and approval quickly by taking advantage of new Senate rules. It was just last month when the Senate adopted a set of rules that allowed presidential nominee confirmations to be pushed through with a majority of the votes instead of the required sixty votes in the past.

Who is Alejandro Mayorkas?

Alejandro Mayorkas has been under investigation by the DHS’ inspector general over allegations that he mismanaged a visa program for foreign investors. Mayorkas denies this claim.

As the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Mayorkas oversaw a program that allowed foreign investors to enter the country, provided they create jobs while they were here. However, some believe that Mayorkas sped up the consideration of visa applications for foreign investors of a company that he partly owns. Mayorkas called the allegations “unequivocally false.”

Senator Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) calls the confirmation of Mayorkas’ nomination “troubling” and said that changing long-standing Senate rules to push through a controversial nominee “isn’t the kind of reform the American people want.”

Mayorkas, who currently runs the DHS’ citizen and immigration services division, is due to receive confirmation within the next week or so. However, the Republicans are crying foul, as they say there should be no action to move ahead with Mayorka’s confirmation until the DHS inquiry regarding the visa program has been resolved.

But many Senate members said it just isn’t possible to wait until the DHS inquiry is completed and that there was never any formal agreement to do so. Because the investigation is not anywhere near completion and because the inspector general has not, at this point, identified any criminal misconduct, Senate members agree that Mayorka’s nomination should move forward.