President-elect Joe Biden announced his nominees for several cabinet positions, including secretary of state, national security adviser, and Department of Homeland Security chief.
The former vice president announced Sunday he will nominate Antony Blinken to be the secretary of state and Jake Sullivan to be the national security adviser. At an event in Delaware Monday, Biden announced Alejandro Mayorkas will be nominated to lead the Department of Homeland Security and Avril Haines to be the director of national intelligence.
Biden has shown a preference to appoint people he worked with in the Obama administration, one of the most diverse in U.S. history.
If confirmed, Mayorkas will be the first Latino to run the agency tasked with implementing and managing the nation’s immigration policies. Mayorkas, a Cuban-born immigrant, is a former U.S. Attorney and previously served as the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during former President Barack Obama’s first term and as deputy Homeland Security secretary during Obama’s second term.
Mayorkas will also be tasked with restoring trust in a department following a tumultuous four years under the Trump administration. The last four years saw numerous controversies including kids and adults locked in cages, refugee camps on the U.S.-Mexico border and female Immigration and Customs detainees saying they were pressured into invasive gynecology procedures.
Top immigration officials who served under Obama, suggested Mayorkas’ nomination in order to show members of the immigrant community that their concerns are legitimate. At the same time, the Mayorkas appointment would satisfy moderates and career officials within the agency who want a leader with a background in law enforcement.
Haines previously served as the deputy director of the C.I.A. in the Obama administration before succeeding Blinken as Obama’s deputy national security adviser. If Haines is confirmed, she will be the highest-ranking woman to serve in the intelligence community.
According to the New York Times, Hanes previously served as counsel to Obama’s National Security Council, helping the former president navigate legal issues concerning counterterrorism operations and pushing for more restraint in order to reduce the number of civilian casualties.
Biden also announced the nomination of longtime diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Thomas-Greenfield is part of Biden’s transition team and will focus on restoring the respect and professionalism to the State Department, with a particular focus on diversity.
Thomas-Greenfield, a former foreign service officer in administrations dating back to Ronald Reagan, served as an ambassador to Liberia and was Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs from 2013-2017. Thomas-Greenfield was pushed out of the position by the Trump administration after less than a week according to CBS News.
Indiana Mayor and Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg was a candidate for the position but Thomas-Greenfield’s experience is second to none. Earlier this month Greenfield and veteran diplomat William Burns collaborated for an article titled “The Transformation of Diplomacy: How to Save the State Department” for the November/December issue of Foreign Affairs magazine.
Thomas-Greenfield will most certainly make sure Biden’s foreign policy team is diverse.
“Diversity requires proactive attention by the administration. And when we look at what happened at the early stages of this administration–when people were encouraged to leave or asked to leave–there were significant numbers of diversity individuals, myself included, who left,” she told NPR in 2017.