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Newsletter May 2012 – The Faces of US Immigrants: Alejandro Mayorkas, USCIS Director

May 18th, 2012 by Eric J. Ramos

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The Faces of US Immigrants: Alejandro Mayorkas, USCIS Director

Alejandro “Ali” Mayorkas, the current director of the USCIS, was born in Havana, Cuba on November 24, 1959. His family fled Cuba in 1960, entering the United States as refugees and settling in California.

Mr. Mayorkas holds obtained his B.A. from UCLA and a J.D. from Loyola Law School. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California from 1989 to 1998. During this time, he served as Chief of the Office’s General Crimes Section.

From 1998 until 2001, Mr. Mayorkas served as United States Attorney for the Central District of California, and at the age of 39, Mayorkas was the youngest U.S. Attorney in the nation at that time. From 2001 until his USCIS appointment, Mr. Mayorkas was a partner with the law firm of O’Melveny & Myers.

On April 24, 2009 President Barack Obama nominated him for USCIS director and on August 7th he was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. He was sworn in on August 12, 2009. Mayorkas accepted the appointment, saying:

“The USCIS mission is rooted in the vision of our founding fathers. My family, like millions of others, came to this country to pursue our dreams in a land of liberty and opportunity. I am committed to administering our country’s immigration and naturalization laws efficiently and with fairness, honesty, and integrity.”

Mr. Mayorkas was named as one of the “50 Most Influential Minority Lawyers in America” in 2008 by the National Law Journal. He serves on the Board of Directors of Bet Tzedek Legal Services, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing the disadvantaged with access to justice. He also serves on the Board of Directors of United Friends of the Children, a non-profit organization devoted to the well-being of foster youth in Los Angeles County.

Mr. Mayorkas and his wife Tanya have two young daughters, Giselle and Amelia.

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