If this were confirmed, Mayorkas would be the first Latino secretary for Homeland Security. Under the Trump administration, the department shifted from its broader homeland security mission to focus heavily on immigration enforcement. Immigration activists will certainly pressurize the Biden administration to reverse the numerous DHS rules and regulations that have restricted immigration.
Jeh Johnson, Obama’s homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2017, said Monday he was “very, very pleased” with Mayorkas’ decision to take over the department under Biden’s administration.
Myorkas has “extensive experience” with the DHS, said Johnson, citing his experience as assistant secretary, director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service, and a US attorney in southern California.
“I can’t think of anyone more qualified to lead the DHS,” said Johnson.
The confirmation from Haines would also be historic. She would become the highest-ranking woman in the US intelligence community and the first female director of national intelligence. Haines is another Obama administration veteran who has served as a former deputy national security adviser and deputy CIA director.
Haines was one of the heads of the strategic advisory firm WestExec Advisors, founded in 2018 by Obama administration alumni Michèle Flournoy and Antony Blinken.
Though Haines was scrutinized by progressives within the Democratic Party, former CIA official Marc Polymeropoulos said she was “a good choice” and praised her “Herculean work ethic”.
“Having worked in both senior positions at the CIA and the White House, she has a tremendous understanding of how intelligence agencies can support politics and how the interagency process works,” said Polymeropoulos. “She also has existing relationships with overseas leaders that benefit the role of Intel diplomacy that she will play.”
A longtime Senator from Massachusetts and a 2004 Democratic presidential candidate, Kerry was Obama’s second Secretary of State from 2013 to 2017 after Hillary Clinton’s departure from Foggy Bottom.
Kerry was an early supporter of Biden in the 2020 Democratic primary and served with New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez as one of the two co-chairs of a Climate Change Unity Task Force that brought together members of the Progressive and Democratic Democratic Party Establishment wings.
A notable loophole in the list of names released by the Biden transition team on Monday was the election of the president-elect as Secretary of Defense. Michèle Flournoy, a former Under-Secretary of State for Politics, is widely recognized as a forerunner in running the Pentagon in future administration.
The staff moves are after Ron Klain, Biden’s new chief of staff in the White House. revealed Sunday when the president-elect would appoint his first cabinet officials on Tuesday.
Later on Sunday, multiple media outlets reported that Biden had won foreign affairs advisor Antony Blinken as foreign minister, domestic affairs advisor Jake Sullivan as national security advisor, and veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
These names were also confirmed in the announcement by the Biden transition team on Monday.
Natasha Bertrand, Lara Seligman, Martin Matishak and Daniel Lippman contributed to this report.