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The incoming Biden-Harris administration announced its picks for the State Department and Homeland Security, among other appointments. In the weeks ahead of Inauguration Day, President-elect Joe Biden will be tasked with choosing the heads of 15 departments, who will make up his cabinet.
On Nov. 23, Biden announced his intention to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to serve as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Mayorkas, the son of Cuban refugees and an immigrant himself, will be the first Latino and immigrant to lead the DHS.
“When I was very young, the United States provided my family and me a place of refuge. Now, I have been nominated to be the DHS Secretary and oversee the protection of all Americans and those who flee persecution in search of a better life for themselves and their loved ones,” Mayorkas said in a statement on Twitter.
Mayorkas previously served in the Obama administration as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). In 2013, he was nominated to serve as deputy DHS secretary and was later confirmed by the Senate, according to CBS News. Mayorkas also worked on the creation and implementation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
His appointment is being celebrated by immigration activists, politicians and others.
“Mayorkas is an inspired choice. He’s the right person to undo Trump’s cruelties, advance fair and humane policies, and deliver on the bold change the American people strongly support,” Frank Sharry, founder of America’s Voice, said in a statement.
The Biden-Harris transition team also announced their picks for the State Department and other national security and foreign policy posts. Biden’s closest foreign policy advisers, Antony Blinken, was tapped to serve as secretary of state.
Other appointees include:
- Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence
- Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations
- Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor
- John Kerry, Special Presidential Envoy for Climate
Cabinet Positions to Keep an Eye On
In the coming weeks, Biden will name the heads of the other 13 departments that make up his Cabinet. Following the news of his national security and foreign policy picks, The Wall Street Journal reported that Biden is expected to nominate Janet L. Yellen as the next Treasury secretary.
If confirmed by the Senate, Yellen would be the first woman to lead the Treasury, which has only been led by a white man. Yellen is perhaps best known as the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve.
However, there are several other Cabinet positions that are equally as critical in the upcoming administration. Here are the two Cabinet posts The North Star is keeping a special eye on.
Department of Education
The Biden-Harris administration has already indicated that it will look to reverse the disastrous policies undertaken by Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. It has promised to restore Obama-era civil rights guidance, increase resources for public schools, implement universal prekindergarten and even some student debt cancellation, The New York Times reported.
Possible nominees include: Baltimore schools CEO Sonja Santelises, University of Pennsylvania President Amy Gutmann, former National Education Association President Lily Eskelsen Garcia and American Federation of Teachers leader Randi Weingarten.
Department of Justice
President-elect Biden will have a difficult task choosing the next Attorney General. Many of the progressives who helped Biden win the White House are demanding someone who will overhaul the system, tackle police brutality and reimagine the prison system. There are a number of potential candidates, including some with close ties to the incoming administration.
Possible nominees include: Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, Uber executive (and Vice President-elect Harris’ brother-in-law) Tony West and federal appeals court Judge Merrick Garland.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a senior writer for The North Star. She has published in various publications, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored the Americas, Asia, Australia and Europe.