Secretary Mayorkas delivered the following remarks at Inauguration of the Office of Homeland Security Statistics at the Department of Homeland Security Headquarters in Washington, D.C. on November 9, 2023
Thank you very much Mark for the kind introduction. Thank you all for being here. I've got my OHSS lanyard on.
First of all, I'd like you all to join me in recognizing Robert Silvers, who spoke earlier, our Under Secretary for Strategy, Policy, and Plans, because without his leadership, this day would not have come, so please join me.
So – our Department, our leaders, in addition to Rob, two of whom are here today: P.J. Lechleitner, the Director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and Ur Jaddou, the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services – we as leaders developed 12 priorities for the Department at the very outset of our tenure. Six of them were organizational, and six of them were mission specific, and one is quite foundational to today's event celebrating the creation of this Office, and that is the commitment to openness and transparency.
One of the key goals that we have is to really build and enhance the trust that the American public has in our Department of Homeland Security, and it is through openness and transparency that we can really engender a greater level of trust.
Within that framework, there are two key points that I'd like to make.
One is a very well-known adage, which is, here in America, of course, “In God we trust. All others must bring data.”
The second is, sometimes one is unable to identify what is needed, as well as what is possible, when unable to do that without people. And people really instill in us an understanding of what in fact is possible. And that is what really brings us today.
I mentioned Rob – I have many, many things to thank Doris Meissner for – there's one that I think of uppermost in my mind this morning as we celebrate the creation of this office. It is, at the Migration Policy Institute, at a meeting with Doris and some of her esteemed colleagues, that I first met Marc Rosenblum, and it was back when I was in my earlier years, as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.
And it is by exposure to Marc that we were able to recruit him, first to the Department of Homeland Security, and then again, in the new administration of President Biden and Vice President Harris.
And without Marc’s excellence we would not have really understood what is possible with respect to the criticality of data and how we can use it far beyond the Office of Immigration Statistics to create the Office of Homeland Security Statistics.
And it is not just Marc, but it is Marc and his extraordinary team.
I will tell you, whatever the time of day or night that I needed a piece of data to bring a point home and to bring it to life, I was able to reach out to Marc and with remarkable swiftness, I would receive an answer that provided me precisely what I need, and I say precisely because the answer was accompanied by a level of scientific precision that was so critical to the advocacy that really underlies much of our work.
And it is Mark's leadership – it is Michael Weissman’s leadership – it is Michael Stough’s leadership – it is our partnership with Karen Orvis – it is a community of people and all of the individuals in the Office of Immigration Statistics that these leaders lead, that really makes this day possible, because without that level of excellence, we wouldn't have known what is possible nor would we have had the confidence to actually build this new Office of such importance. And it is the leaders present and it is also the leaders past that helped make this possible.
And so, this is really a seminal moment in the maturation of the Department of Homeland Security, and a remarkable day to celebrate.
And thank you so much for being here to do so.