History and Genealogy
Alejandro Mayorkas served as Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), an Under Secretary position within the Department of Homeland Security. Nominated by President Obama in April 2009, he was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate in August 2009.
Mr. Mayorkas concluded his duties as Director of USCIS in 2013 to serve as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security, a post for which he was also nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate.
As Director of USCIS, Mr. Mayorkas led the agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security charged with operating the largest immigration system in the world.
During his tenure, Mr. Mayorkas enhanced USCIS efforts to promote an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensure the integrity of the immigration system. He set goals and standards that led USCIS to bolster its national security safeguards and ability to combat fraud, reinforce quality and consistency in administering immigration benefits, foster organizational excellence, improve promotion of citizenship and immigrant civic integration, and enhance customer service and public engagement.
Mr. Mayorkas was responsible for an 18,000-member workforce throughout more than 200 offices worldwide and oversaw a $3-billion annual budget. His leadership as USCIS Director earned him numerous awards from national and local organizations.
Prior to his appointment as Director of USCIS, Mr. Mayorkas was a partner in the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers LLP. He advised boards of directors and executives, led internal investigations, and litigated cases across a wide array of industries. He served as a member of O’Melveny & Myers’ worldwide governing Policy Committee and as Chair of the firm’s Values Awards Committee and the Warren Christopher Scholarship Committee. In 2008, the National Law Journal recognized Mr. Mayorkas as one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America.”
In 1998, Sen. Dianne Feinstein recommended Mr. Mayorkas to be the United States Attorney for the Central District of California. Nominated by President Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate, he became the youngest U.S. Attorney to serve the nation at that time. Mr. Mayorkas led an office of 240 Assistant U.S. Attorneys and oversaw the prosecution of cases of national and international significance. He served as the Vice-Chair of the Attorney General’s Advisory Subcommittee on Civil Rights and as a member of the Subcommittee on Ethics in Government.
From 1989 to 1998, Mr. Mayorkas served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California. Between 1996 and 1998, he additionally served as Chief of the Office’s General Crimes Section overseeing the training and trial work of new Assistant U.S. Attorneys in the Criminal Division. Over two decades as a federal prosecutor, he has received numerous awards and commendations from federal and local law enforcement officials and agencies.
Alejandro Mayorkas is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and holds a J.D. from Loyola Law School.
Last Reviewed/Updated: 12/31/2013