Friday, November 7, 2014

Alejandro Mayorkas May Replace Eric Holder



Here's a dose of Friday buzz for you.... Alejandro Mayorkas may be replacing Eric Holder as the Attorney General. So, what's the big deal? Well, for one, the country’s largest law enforcement officers’ organization, the National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), personally is championing Mayorkas to President Obama. National president Chuck Canterbury penned an Oct. 31 letter on behalf of Moyorkas and sent it to President Obama at the White House - which is a huge deal. In fact, Mayorkas has the experience and qualification for the job- but as you know- this doesn't mean he will get it.

Why you should care: Mr. Mayorkas can offer insight and actually get things done as the Attorney General. He was the director of US citizenship and Immigration Services — the biggest immigration system in the world with a $3 billion budget and 18,000 workers. He knows a lot of about the different issues and he is working with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) now. You should care because someone, like Mayorkas, has to have a lot of knowledge about grey areas when it comes to protecting human rights and civil liberties while also keeping the country safe and playing politics at the same time.

Here is some more info on Alejandro Mayorkas directly from the DHS: http://www.dhs.gov/person/alejandro-mayorkas

We don't have any say if Mayorkas gets to fill Eric Holder's position or not. But I can use this blog to urge the President to highly consider someone capable of sustaining programs for the long-term, and who can consider implementing- if not developing- new technologies, to better how the DHS operates and handles sensitive matters. Why do I think Mayorkas fits this role? Well, he had to look at the DHS - his own department- from the inside out earlier this year.

For example, an immigrant detention facility that opened earlier this year in Artesia, New Mexico, has been very controversial. Mothers being held there complained about cold temperatures, undercooked food their children wouldn't eat, and difficulties in presenting their case for why they should remain in the country rather than being deported. After visiting the facility, attorneys claimed that women were forced to speak about their experiences -- often including abuse and sexual assault -- in front of their children. This is a great example where policies should meet with commonsense.

Instead of passing the buck, Mayorkas responded quickly to concerns about Artesia, saying "If, in fact, we fall short, and quite frankly, the advocacy community has identified instances where we have not provided as we should for the care and needs of those families, then we will respond aggressively to address that and to solve that problem." And, the DHS is working to improve its approach in screening women in the detention facility and addressing issues on a case-by-case basis.

As we finish out a very political week, try to remember that not all DHS issues are black and white. We, as people and policy makers, have to be able to pivot from time-to-time.

Until Monday,

Twyla N. Garrett of IME

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