Since its conception and even throughout the Obama administration and certainly under the Trump regime, I cannot say I've ever had a positive opinion about the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It's simply hard to trust the mission and actions of an Orwellian-named agency with such nebulous jurisdiction and authority over virtually everything.
With that said, if anyone can turn the agency's image around, it may be an actual immigrant.
The Senate confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas to be the next department secretary and the gulf in life experience between him and his most recent predecessors couldn't be wider.
Mayorkas is the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the department. He’s a Cuban-born lawyer and one of the chief architects of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. He served as DHS deputy secretary and director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services under President Barack Obama.
Senate Democrats and the Biden administration had pushed to get Mayorkas confirmed by Biden’s inauguration, but it was delayed over Republican pushback.
Republicans opposed Mayorka for the exact reasons he was chosen by the Biden White House.
“Not only has Mayorkas pledged to undo the sensible protections put in place by the Trump Administration that ended the dangerous policy of catch and release, but his nomination is further evidence that the Biden Administration intends to pursue a radical immigration agenda,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a fellow Cuban-American, said in a statement opposing Mayorkas’ confirmation.
In other words, Republicans opposed Mayorkas because, under his direction, the agency will no longer indefinitely hold undocumented immigrants while waiting for an appearance in court.
That does not apply to immigrants accused of serious or violent crimes who will still be detained, just the random moms and pops the Trump regime arrested for virtually no reason. Those are the people the GOP considers "dangerous."
Maybe I'm wrong and we'll all view the Department of Homeland Security with the same, persistent amount of skepticism four years from now, but Mayorkas cannot possibly be worse than the previous secretary who was a literal Chad whose appointment to the position was ruled illegal.
Nothing can stop the next Republican president from installing another monster at the agency, but if Congress passed comprehensive immigration reform that could reduce the wide range of executive discretion that was left in place since the agency was created. The Trump regime could not have committed the moral crimes that they did, for example, if federal immigration law was not open to such disparate interpretation. Democrats should use their current opportunity to pass reform even if it requires ending the legislative filibuster.