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Alejandro Mayorkas
Secretary Mayorkas Official Photo.jpg
Official portrait, 2021
7th United States Secretary of Homeland Security
Assumed office
February 2, 2021
President Joe Biden
Deputy John Tien
Kristie Canegallo (acting)
Preceded by Kirstjen Nielsen
6th United States Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security
In office
December 23, 2013 – October 28, 2016
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Jane Holl Lute
Succeeded by Elaine Duke
Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services
In office
August 12, 2009 – December 23, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Emilio T. Gonzalez
Succeeded by León Rodríguez
United States Attorney for the Central District of California
In office
December 21, 1998 – April 20, 2001
President Bill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded by Nora Margaret Manella
Succeeded by Debra Wong Yang
Personal details
Born (1959-11-24) November 24, 1959 (age 64)
Havana, Cuba
Nationality American
Political party Democratic
Spouse Tanya Mayorkas
Children 2
Education University of California, Berkeley (BA)
Loyola Marymount University (JD)
Occupation Politician
Profession Lawyer

Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas (born November 24, 1959) is an American lawyer and politician serving since 2021 as the seventh United States Secretary of Homeland Security. During the Obama administration, he also served in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), first as director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (2009–2013), and as deputy secretary of DHS (2013–2016).

On February 13, 2024, Mayorkas was impeached, with a 214–213 vote, by the United States House of Representatives. This came after an earlier unsuccessful impeachment vote of Mayorkas one week prior. Mayorkas is only the second cabinet member in U.S. history to be impeached, the first being Secretary of War William Belknap in 1876.

Early life and education

Alejandro Nicholas Mayorkas was born in Havana, Cuba, on November 24, 1959. When he was one year old, his parents fled with him and his sister to the United States in 1960 as refugees, following the Cuban Revolution. He lived in Miami, Florida, before his family moved to Los Angeles, California, where he was raised for the remainder of his youth. Mayorkas grew up in Beverly Hills and attended Beverly Hills High School.

His father, Charles R. "Nicky" Mayorkas, was born in Cuba. He was a Cuban Jew of Sephardi (from the former Ottoman Empire, present-day Turkey and Greece) and Ashkenazi (from Poland) background. He owned and operated a steel wool factory on the outskirts of Havana. Nicky Mayorkas studied economics at Dartmouth College.

His mother, Anita (Gabor), was a Romanian Jew whose family escaped the Holocaust and fled to Cuba in the 1940s before leaving for the United States after the Cuban Revolution.

Mayorkas graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1981 with a Bachelor of Arts degree with distinction. He received his Juris Doctor in 1985 from Loyola Law School, where he was an editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law Review.


Mayorkas worked as an Assistant United States Attorney and was appointed the United States attorney for the Central District of California in Los Angeles during the administration of President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, where he oversaw the prosecution of high-profile criminal cases.

Mayorkas was a member of the presidential transition team for Barack Obama before he assumed office in January 2009, where he led the team responsible for the U.S. Department of Justice's Criminal Division.

He was appointed by President Obama as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). On May 20, 2009, the nomination was received by the Senate; on August 7, 2009, the nomination was confirmed by the Senate by voice vote. As USCIS director, Mayorkas led United States citizenship through management efficiencies and fiscal responsibility, and safeguarded the integrity of the immigration system. He implemented the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) process in sixty days. He led U.S. government efforts to rescue orphaned children following the January 2010 earthquake in Haiti and led the advancement of a crime victims unit that, for the first time, made it possible for the agency to issue the statutory maximum number of visas to victims of crime.

In 2016, Mayorkas became a partner at the law firm of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, in their Washington, D.C., office. On November 23, 2020, President-elect Joe Biden announced he would nominate Mayorkas as secretary of homeland security in his Cabinet. Mayorkas's nomination received the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police and former secretaries Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff (who served under George W. Bush), Janet Napolitano and Jeh Johnson (under whom Mayorkas served), who said Biden "could not have found a more qualified person". On February 2, 2021, Mayorkas was confirmed by the Senate on a 56–43 vote, with significant Senate Republican opposition. He was sworn in by Vice President Kamala Harris on February 2, 2021. Mayorkas is the first refugee and first person born in Latin America to lead the department.

On January 28, 2024, House Republicans introduced two articles of impeachment against Mayorkas, alleging "willful and systemic refusal to comply with the law" and breach of the public trust.

On February 13, 2024, the United States House of Representatives voted to impeach Mayorkas by a vote of 214–213.

Personal life

Mayorkas and his wife Tanya have two daughters. He is a runner and plays tennis and squash.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Alejandro Mayorkas para niños

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