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Mayorkas's Confirmation Urged

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 10, 2013

CONTACT
Adela de la Torre, delatorre@nilc.org, 213-400-7822

Immigration Groups Urge Swift Approval of Mayorkas at Homeland Security

WASHINGTON — National and local immigration and civil rights advocacy groups are urging the Senate to swiftly confirm Alejandro Mayorkas, who currently serves as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), to become the next deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

“Alejandro Mayorkas is a proven leader whose depth of knowledge about the nation’s immigration system has already served DHS well,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of the National Immigration Law Center. “Along with Jeh Johnson, the DHS secretary nominee, Mayorkas will provide the stability and managerial skills necessary to provide some security to a department that for too long has lacked permanent leadership at its highest levels.”

In a letter signed by 29 groups, Mayorkas is praised for his “extraordinary leadership” in carrying out the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, a 2012 humanitarian initiative that grants permission to certain young immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to temporarily live and work here.

Given only 60 days to operationalize the program that began August 15, 2012, Mayorkas made DACA a proven success. As of August 31, 2013, almost 589,000 individuals have applied for DACA and more than 455,000 have been approved.

“DACA is a model of government efficiency. Its seamless execution has involved numerous critical factors, including a keen understanding of complex immigration laws, interagency coordination with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Department of Education, and significant engagement with stakeholders,” the letter states.

The immigration advocacy groups laud Mayorkas for having been “fully transparent about the program’s implementation, regularly meeting with academics, attorneys, advocates, and community members to share information about the program and to respond to questions and concerns.”

In his current position as director of USCIS, Mayorkas oversees the largest immigration system in the world and has advanced technology improvements to improve its service and the public’s access to the agency.

In addition to the National Immigration Law Center, the signatories on the letter to the Senate include American Immigration Council, National Council of La Raza, National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO), Arab American Institute, Asian Americans Advancing Justice (Washington and Los Angeles offices), United We Dream, Bridge Project, Center for Community Change, and American Federation of Teachers.

The letter can be downloaded from www.nilc.org/document.html?id=1038.

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