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From Border Wall To Capitol Riot, Homeland Security Nominee Takes Senate Questions

Alejandro Mayorkas, nominee to be secretary of Homeland Security, is sworn in to testify during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday.
Erin Scott
/
Pool/AFP via Getty Images
Alejandro Mayorkas, nominee to be secretary of Homeland Security, is sworn in to testify during his confirmation hearing in the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Tuesday.

Updated at 10:33 a.m. ET

President-elect Joe Biden's nominee to head the Department of Homeland Security, Alejandro Mayorkas, is appearing before a Senate panel Tuesday to begin his confirmation process.

Mayorkas, who would be the first Latino and first immigrant to lead that department, was previously the head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, a DHS agency, during the Obama administration. He then served as deputy secretary of DHS.

Watch the hearing live.

In announcing his nominee in November, Biden said Mayorkas "will play a critical role in fixing our broken immigration system and understands that living up to our values and protecting our nation's security aren't mutually exclusive — and under his leadership, they'll go hand-in-hand."

Biden has pushed for swift confirmation of his nominees. He is on pace to have few, if any, Cabinet members confirmed on Inauguration Day.

After the deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, however, there's been increased pressure to get national security officials confirmed quickly to prevent any gap during the transfer of power.

In his opening statement Tuesday, Mayorkas called the events of Jan. 6 "horrifying" and said that if confirmed, he will do "everything I can to ensure that the tragic loss of life, the assault on law enforcement, the desecration of the building that stands as one of the three pillars of our democracy, and the terror felt by you, your colleagues, staff, and everyone present, will not happen again."

Biden's nominee for secretary of defense, retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, and others in his security team also have Senate hearings Tuesday.

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