Alejandro Mayorkas is the first Latino and immigrant nominated to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security. He has led a distinguished 30-year career as a law enforcement official and a nationally-recognized lawyer in the private sector.
Mayorkas served as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in the Obama-Biden Administration from 2013 to 2016, and as the Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from 2009 to 2013.
During his tenure at DHS, he led the development and implementation of DACA, negotiated cybersecurity and homeland security agreements with foreign governments, led the Department’s response to Ebola and Zika, helped build and administer the Blue Campaign to combat human trafficking, and developed an emergency relief program for orphaned youth following the tragic January 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
Mayorkas also created the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate to better ensure the integrity of the legal immigration system.
Mayorkas began his government service in the Department of Justice, where he served as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Central District of California, specializing in the prosecution of white collar crime.
After nearly nine years as a federal prosecutor, he became the youngest United States Attorney in the nation, overseeing prosecutions of national significance, including the investigation and prosecution of financial fraud, violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, public corruption, violent crime, cybercrime, environmental crime, international money laundering, and securities fraud.
Mayorkas has also led a distinguished legal career in the private sector, at O’Melveny & Myers and most recently WilmerHale, where he has specialized in strategic counseling and crisis management. He serves several non-profit organizations focused on providing legal services to the poor, refugee resettlement, and education for underprivileged youth.
Mayorkas was born in Havana, Cuba and was the highest-ranking Cuban American to serve in the Obama-Biden Administration. Mayorkas received his bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from Loyola Law School.
AVRIL HAINES, DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE
“Mr. President-elect, you know that I have never shied away from speaking truth to power and that will be my charge as director of national intelligence. I’ve worked for you for a long time and I accept this nomination knowing that you would never want me to do otherwise and that you value the perspective of the intelligence community and that you will do so even when what I have to say may be inconvenient or difficult, and I assure you, there will be those times.”
Avril Haines has worked with President-elect Biden in various roles for more than a decade, and will become the first woman to serve as Director of National Intelligence.
During the Obama administration, Haines served as Assistant to the President and Principal Deputy National Security Advisor from 2015-2017, during which time she led the National Security Council’s (NSC) Deputies Committee.
From 2013-2015, Haines was the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency; she was the first woman to hold both of these positions. Avril began her service in the Obama administration in 2010 as the NSC Legal Advisor.
From 2007-2008, Haines served as Deputy Chief Counsel to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee while President-elect Biden served as chairman. Haines has led the Transition’s National Security and Foreign Policy Team since its founding in June 2020.
Prior to that time, she served in various roles including Senior Research Scholar at Columbia University; a Senior Fellow at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; and a member of the National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. Haines received her bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Chicago and a law degree from Georgetown University Law Center.
LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD, US AMBASSADOR TO THE UNITED NATIONS
“On this day, I’m thinking about the American people, my fellow career diplomats and public servants around the world. I want to say to you: America is back. Multilateralism is back. Diplomacy is back.”
Retired Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a career diplomat, is returning to public service after retiring from a 35-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service in 2017.
From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, where she led the bureau focused on the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (2012-2013), leading a team in charge of the State Department’s 70,000-strong workforce.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s distinguished Foreign Service career includes an ambassadorship to Liberia (2008-2012), and postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. In Washington, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs (2006-2008), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (2004-2006).
Since 2017, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield has led the Africa Practice at Albright Stonebridge Group, a strategic commercial diplomacy firm chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.
She was also the inaugural Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy from fall 2017 to spring 2019. She joined ISD in spring 2017 as a Senior State Department Fellow.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield earned a B.A. from Louisiana State University and a M.A. from the University of Wisconsin, where she worked towards a PhD. She received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Wisconsin in May 2018.
JAKE SULLIVAN, NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR
“We will be vigilant in the face of enduring threats, from nuclear weapons to terrorism. But you have also tasked us with reimagining our national security for the unprecedented combination of crises we face at home and abroad. The pandemic, the economic crisis, the climate crisis, technological disruption, threats to democracy, racial injustice and inequality in all forms. The work of the team behind me today will contribute to progress across all these fronts.”