“Do I think he’s more left of center than I’d like? Yes, ”said Mr. Sweet, adding,“ No question about it, he’s qualified for the job, period. “
Rand Beers, a former acting minister of homeland security in the Obama administration, said Mr. Biden’s election made it clear that while immigration would be an early focus for the department, the new administration would also face its other responsibilities, such as cybersecurity and conservation would strengthen disasters.
Mr Beers said Mr Mayorkas had balanced a vigilance of security threats with an interest in helping immigrants in need, pointing out his work examining visa applications for Iraqis who supported the US military. Mr Beers said Mr Mayorkas had urged his teams to undergo in-depth reviews of intelligence reports to look for communications between applicants and suspected terrorists.
“He basically took it seriously and said we can’t ignore these reports, but we can’t accept the level of contact either,” Beers said. “He’s thoughtful, he’s analytical, and he’s human.”
At Homeland Security, Mr Mayorkas led the agency’s response to the Ebola and Zika outbreaks, which were extremely relevant for the moment, the Biden transition team said Monday. As Secretary of Homeland Security, Mr. Mayorkas would oversee the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which has played an important role in the state governments’ efforts to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
“He has seen all of the effects of Covid-19 in all sectors of the economy and affected all kinds of people, and has been involved in it for months,” said Jamie Gorelick, partner at his WilmerHale law firm and former assistant attorney general in the Clinton administration. Ms. Gorelick relied on Mr. Mayorkas to lead the law firm’s coronavirus task force for clients.
Mr Mayorkas has also been closely following Mr Trump’s efforts to overhaul the immigration system, Ms. Gorelick said.