Homeland Security

Mayorkas plans exit from DHS

DHS Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas speaks May 3, 2016 at George Washington University 

Alejandro Mayorkas has been a vocal advocate of DHS efforts to encourage the private sector to share cybersecurity information with the government and vice versa.

One of the leading champions of public/private cybersecurity information sharing is leaving the Department of Homeland Security at the end of October.

Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas will depart on Oct. 28, according to a department statement. Undersecretary for Management Russell Deyo will serve as acting deputy secretary.

Mayorkas has been a vocal advocate of the department's efforts to encourage the private sector to share cybersecurity information with the government and vice versa.

He has been in his current position for almost three years. Previously, he was director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. While at USCIS, he became a political lightning rod for the Obama administration when he managed the agency's EB-5 visa program, which allows foreigners to receive a green card if they invest money in a commercial enterprise in the U.S. or create jobs in the country.

A 2015 Office of Inspector General report states that while Mayorkas was at USCIS, he exerted "improper influence" in EB-5 processing for green cards for some wealthy foreign entrepreneurs involved in U.S. projects tied to current Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Hugh Rodham, Hillary Clinton's brother.

Mayorkas also helped prepare USCIS for the flood of new data expected under the Obama administration's 2012 Dreamer program, which lifted the threat of deportation from undocumented students who had been brought to the U.S. by their parents as minors.

He moved into DHS' top management in 2013 as deputy secretary and has been an advocate for the agency's automated information-sharing structure that sends and receives cyberthreat indicators in near-real time to help the government and industry prevent cyber intrusions.

In a statement, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson praised Mayorkas for leading the agency's Unity of Effort campaign, designed to harmonize the approach to procurement across DHS agencies.

"Over the last 34 months, Ali has spearheaded much of our Unity of Effort campaign and employee engagement initiatives and has taken a leading role on issues ranging from immigration to cybersecurity," Johnson said. "His legacy as deputy secretary will be the number of things we did to improve how this Department functions and the significant increase in employee satisfaction we saw this year as a result."

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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