When Alejandro Mayorkas was tapped to run DHS – the now 20-year-old behemoth with 260,000 employees created in the aftermath of 9/11 – Mayorkas said that he was determined to be the Secretary of Homeland Security, NOT the Secretary of Immigration.
How’s that going? Yesterday, Playbook co-author and Deep Dive host Ryan Lizza sat down with him on the sidelines of the Aspen Security Forum to find out.
Mayorkas’s department is charged with preventing foreign and domestic terrorist attacks. It monitors threats from weapons of mass destruction, protects infrastructure and ensures we’re safe from cyber attacks.
What many of DHS’s agencies do have in common is that you often don’t hear much about them unless something really bad has happened.
So even if Mayorkas didn’t also oversee immigration, the most fraught of political issues, being DHS secretary – responsible for defending the nation against terrorism, computer hackers, nuclear weapons, and natural disasters – can often be a thankless job.
And despite his best attempts, it is Mayorkas’s management of Border Patrol, ICE, and Immigration Services that has dominated his tenure and made him the GOP’s main target of attack in the Biden Cabinet.
On this episode of Deep Dive, Ryan and Sec. Mayorkas discuss how the terrorism threat has changed over the last two decades, the challenges of confronting domestic extremism, why the end of Title 42 didn’t lead to the border surge many predicted, the future of TSA, the fentanyl crisis, the prospects of impeachment, and how going through the meat grinder of D.C. politics has changed him.