Government Agency

Biden Administration – Department of Homeland Security

Website:

www.dhs.gov/

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This profile contains Biden Administration nominations and appointments made at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Nominations and Appointments

Deanne Criswell is Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). She formerly served as Commissioner of the New York City Emergency Management Department, having been appointed in 2019. Before that, she served as the leader of one of FEMA’s national incident management assistance teams, and as a federal coordinating officer. She has also served as head of the Office of Emergency Management for the city of Aurora, Colorado, as an executive at the Cadmus Group LLC, and as a firefighter and Deputy Fire Chief with the Colorado Air National Guard.1

Jonathan Davidson is Chief of Staff at the Department of Homeland Security, having previously been counselor to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Assistant Secretary for Congressional Affairs at the Department of the Treasury. He was also formerly chief of staff to U.S. Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO), Senator Paul Sarbanes (D-MD), and Representative John Sarbanes (D-MD). He was also chief counsel to Senator Mark Warner (D-VA). Davidson was also the economic nominations confirmation team lead for the Biden-Harris Transition.23

Ur Jaddou is Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She most recently served as Director of DHS Watch, a project of America’s Voice, and as an adjunct professor at American University School of Law. During the Obama Administration, she served as chief counsel to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services from July 2014 to January 2017, and before that was deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs. She was also formerly chief counsel to the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, and senior counsel to U.S. Representative Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).4

Chris Magnus was Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Before that, he served as chief of police for the city of Tucson, Arizona, having been appointed to that position in 2016, and served ten years as police chief for Richmond, California, and seven years as police chief for Fargo, North Dakota.5

Magnus was confirmed by a 50-47 vote in the U.S. Senate and his nomination was controversial. Republicans expressed concern over his stance on illegal immigration, including his refusal to characterize a recent surge of migrants at the United States-Mexico border as a “crisis.” At his confirmation hearing before the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, Magnus stated that “regardless of what we call it, it is something important to me.”6

In November 2022, Magnus resigned from his position as Commissioner.7 In October, Politico reported that Biden Administration officials had become frustrated with Magnus and his job performance, particularly given the large number of migrants attempting to cross the border from Mexico into the United States. Officials reportedly complained that Magnus was unengaged and unfamiliar with the operations of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and was instead primarily focused on changing the agency’s culture.8

Alejandro Mayorkas is Secretary of Homeland Security. He formerly served as a Partner at the law firm of WilmerHale. During the Obama Administration, he was Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security and Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He was also head of President Obama’s U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division transition team in 2008, and served as a U.S. Attorney in the Justice Department during the Clinton Administration.9

In January 2021, the Daily Caller reported that Mayorkas had received $3.3 million in the preceding year as a Partner at WilmerHale, according to financial disclosure forms. His clients at the firm included Uber, Cisco, Clorox, Blackstone, Airbnb, Mission Support Alliance, and Intuit. He also represented NiSource, Inc. against charges related to the role that one of its subsidiaries played in the September 2018 Massachusetts gas explosions. The Daily Caller also noted a Department of Homeland Security inspector general report from 2015 that said Mayorkas “exerted improper influence” in the EB-5 visa program approval process for GreenTech Automotive, a company that was owned by Terry McAuliffe and Tony Rodham. Mayorkas was serving as Director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Obama Administration at the time.10

 

References

  1. “Meet the Executive Staff.” New York City Emergency Management Department. December 1, 2020 (accessed via WayBack Machine). Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20201201025406/https://www1.nyc.gov/site/em/about/meet-execs.page
  2. “President Biden Announces Intent to Nominate Key Roles for the Department of Treasury.” The White House. March 11, 2021. Available at: https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2021/03/11/president-biden-announces-intent-to-nominate-key-roles-for-the-department-of-treasury/
  3. “Jonathan Davidson.” U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Accessed February 2, 2024. Available at: https://www.dhs.gov/person/jonathan-davidson
  4. “Ur Jaddou.” America’s Voice. April 23, 2021 (accessed via WayBack Machine). Available at: https://web.archive.org/web/20210423230150/https://americasvoice.org/staff/ur-jaddou/
  5. “Chief of Police Chris Magnus.” City of Tucson. Accessed December 8, 2021. Available at: https://www.tucsonaz.gov/police/chief-police-chris-magnus
  6. Moore, Mark. “Biden’s Pick to Lead CBP Gets Grilled During Senate Confirmation Hearing.” New York Post. October 19, 2021. Available at: https://nypost.com/2021/10/19/bidens-cbp-pick-grilled-during-senate-confirmation-hearing/
  7. Joel Rose. “Top U.S. Border Official Chris Magnus Resigns After Less Than a Year on the Job.” NPR. November 12, 2022. Available at: https://www.npr.org/2022/11/12/1136321045/customs-and-border-protection-chris-magnus-resigns-migrants
  8. Daniel Lippman. “Biden’s Top Border Chief Comes Under Internal Fire.” Politico. October 17, 2022. Available at: https://www.politico.com/news/2022/10/17/customs-border-protection-chris-magnus-00061963
  9. “Alejandro N. Mayorkas.” WilmerHale. Accessed December 11, 2020. Available at: https://www.wilmerhale.com/en/people/alejandro-mayorkas
  10. Ross, Chuck. “Mayorkas Raked in Millions at Corporate Law Firm, Where he Represented Utility Company Responsible for Fatal Gas Explosion.” The Daily Caller. January 17, 2021. Accessed January 18, 2021. Available at: https://dailycaller.com/2021/01/17/alejandro-mayorkas-millions-law-biden-dhs/

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Alejandro Mayorkas
    Secretary of Homeland Security
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