Alejandro Mayorkas, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), said during a Senate confirmation hearing Tuesday he does not support abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
During his confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Mayorkas was asked about his position on the two DHS agencies by multiple Republican Senators. Calls to abolish ICE and similar agencies have become more commonplace among progressive activists and even some Democratic lawmakers.
“Would you recommend that ICE be defunded?” asked Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford.
“No,” Mayorkas responded. He later stated he would need to “study the condition” of ICE in order to determine whether the agency would require additional funding.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) January 19, 2021
Republican Florida Sen. Rick Scott also asked a similar question during the confirmation hearing. “Could you repeat your position with regard to funding border patrol and ICE, and whether you think we should continue to fund them or we should abolish them?” asked Scott.
“[CBP] and [ICE] play critical roles in the federal government and I would not abolish them,” Mayorkas answered.
Sen Scott: asks about calls to abolish ICE and abolish border patrol.
Mayorkas: ICE and CBP play critical roles in US govt and I would not abolish them
— amna (@IAmAmnaNawaz) January 19, 2021
The comments from Mayorkas suggest that the incoming Biden administration will not implement the more radical agenda favored by some progressives, even if it takes a considerably different approach to immigration and border security than the Trump administration, according to Fox News.
Biden has called for a moratorium on deportations during the first 100 days of his presidency and is expected to reverse a number of DHS policies enacted by the Trump administration, according to The Washington Post.
Implementing reforms at DHS may be difficult given that border patrol agencies largely adopted Trump’s immigration agenda and the largest border patrol union endorsed Trump in the 2020 election. (RELATED: Sen Josh Hawley Blocks Quick Consideration Of Biden’s Homeland Security Nominee)
But Mayorkas has experience in the department, previously serving as director of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, and has received endorsements from a number of law enforcement agencies, according to Fox News. A Democratic majority in the Senate will also make his confirmation more likely.