The National Partnership for New Americans (NPNA) applauds the President-elect’s decision to tap the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the federal agency tasked with implementing immigration law. The nomination signals a move away from the Trump administration’s deadly,
“NPNA is encouraged by the nomination of Alejandro Mayorkas as DHS Secretary. DHS is in dire need of a course correction, and we welcome its transition from an enforcement-focused agency to one that prioritizes eliminating barriers in order to achieve greater immigrant and refugee inclusion in our country,” said Nicole Melaku, executive director of NPNA. “We look forward to working with Secretary Mayorkas and the Biden administration to move our country forward, make immediate and urgently needed changes to federal immigration policy, and bring into focus a new vision for how this country treats immigrant and refugee communities.”
The appointment of Mayorkas restores credibility to DHS, bringing decades of experience as a homeland security expert respected by both Democrats and Republicans. As the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) under the Obama administration, Mayorkas developed and implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and expanded fee waivers for naturalization and immigration applications. Mayorkas would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead the agency.
NPNA has called for DHS, and USCIS more specifically, to take immediate steps to expand access to citizenship, including through reversing the Trump administration’s rules to increase naturalization and immigration application fees and eliminate fee waivers; reducing the backlog of over 744,000 citizenship applications; streamlining the application process; and implementing voluntary, automatic voter registration for all newly naturalized citizens.