President-elect Joe Biden named Avril Haines to be his director of national intelligence and Alejandro Mayorkas to lead the Department of Homeland Security, his transition team announced Monday. If confirmed, Haines would be the first woman to lead the intelligence community, while Mayorkas would be the first person of Latino descent to run DHS.
Haines was deputy to CIA Director John Brennan under the Obama administration, where she worked to reform the White House’s drone policy, though not ending the program altogether. After leaving government, Haines supported Trump’s nomination of CIA Director Gina Haspel, infamous for leading a torture black site, and consulted with ICE-linked data firm Palantir.
Mayorkas was deputy head of DHS in the Obama administration, working under former Secretary Jeh Johnson. Mayorkas, an immigrant from Cuba and former head of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, was instrumental in the launch of the DACA program, according to The New York Times. In 2013, the DHS inspector general investigated Mayorkas for allegedly improperly granting visas under pressure from former DNC chair Terry McAullife and Tony Rodham, Hillary Clinton’s brother. While a report from the inspector general’s office said Mayorkas’s actions created “an appearance of favoritism and special access,” he was not sanctioned by the department.