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Since December 2013, Alejandro Mayorkas has served as the Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security. In that role, he has served as the second-in-command and the Chief Operating Officer of the third largest Department in the United States government, overseeing a $60 billion budget and helping lead a workforce of nearly 230,000 individuals throughout the world.
As the Deputy Secretary, Mayorkas developed and implemented policies, budget, and operational plans to achieve the Department's critical missions in such homeland security areas as counterterrorism, cyber security, border security, trade and travel, emergency management, aviation security, dignitary protection, maritime security, and the fair and efficient administration of immigration law. His accomplishments are many, and some examples are identified below:
- Led the development and implementation of new cybersecurity policies and operational plans, and helped shape federal legislation, in establishing the Department’s role in cybersecurity information sharing, data privacy protection, public-private partnerships, protection of the .gov space, and the investigation of cyber attacks in the public and private sectors.
- Led the U.S. delegation in negotiating and concluding its cybersecurity partnership with the State of Israel. He worked closely with the leader of Israel’s National Cyber Bureau to form joint ventures in cybersecurity research and development, new ties between U.S. and Israeli technology and cybersecurity companies, and the development and recruitment of cyber talent.
- Led the Department’s negotiation of the cybersecurity agreement between the United States and China. He led the Department’s delegation in overseeing the agreement’s implementation and building the civilian and criminal investigative framework with the government of China.
- Led the development of some of the Department’s key counterterrorism efforts, including enhanced aviation and border security, new means of accessing social media, enforcing international agreements, strengthening national security vetting protocols, and disseminating counterterrorism intelligence to state, local, and tribal law enforcement.
- Led the redesign and enhancement of the Visa Waiver Program to respond to emerging terrorist threats while honoring international partnerships and facilitating lawful trade.
- As the highest-ranking Cuban American in the Obama Administration, led the Department’s groundbreaking delegation to Cuba, concluding the first-ever homeland security agreement with the government of Cuba and opening the way to increased trade, sea and air travel, and tourism between the two nations.
- Worked closely with airlines, airports, and travel and tourism corporations and associations to ensure the security and facilitation of international and domestic travel. Oversaw the reengineering of travel processes and the development of new technologies. Co-led with the Department of Commerce the Administration’s initiative to promote lawful travel and tourism to the United States.
- Led the Administration’s redesign and implementation of a new cargo importation system to facilitate international trade.
- Led the redesign of the Nation’s refugee admissions process to more ably respond to international crises and to strengthen national security safeguards.
- Led the Department’s partnership with state and local law enforcement to enhance the federal government’s national security partnership with first responders.
Prior to serving as the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Mayorkas served as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the agency within the Department that is charged with administering the largest immigration system in the world. Mayorkas served as the Director from August 2009 through December 2013, leading a workforce of 18,000 individuals and overseeing a $3 billion annual budget. His accomplishments as the Director of USCIS include the following:
- Realigned the agency's organization to more effectively fulfill its mission, including the creation of the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate and the Office of Public Engagement.
- Successfully implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA) in sixty days.
- Developed and implemented a series of transformative initiatives, including the Citizenship Awareness Initiative, the Entrepreneurs in Residence program, and the practice of publishing policy memoranda for public comment.
- Developed emergency humanitarian programs that rescued children in need, including the special parole program for children orphaned as a result of the tragic January 2010 earthquake in Haiti, and the development of a more streamlined program for the international adoption of orphans in Guatemala.
- Created programs to attract and retain foreign-born entrepreneurs and other talent that could contribute to the U.S. economy, and promulgated policies and reengineered systems to better serve the business community and promote economic growth.