US/World News

Homeland Security official close to Jewish community stepping down

(JTA) – Alejandro Mayorkas, the deputy Homeland Security secretary who works closely with the Jewish community on security issues, is stepping down. Mayorkas, who is Jewish, said Oct. 5 that he will be leaving the department on Oct. 28. According to The Wall Street Journal, he has signed on with the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

Mayorkas has played a key role in consulting with Jewish community security officials, through the Secure Community Network, an arm of the Jewish Federations of North America. He also has helped secure security grants for nonprofit institutions. The overwhelming number of grantees is Jewish, and Mayorkas last month told an Orthodox Union conference in Washington that this was because U.S. Jews face a unique threat. “The need is most acute in the Jewish community because of the ascension of antisemitism and hate crimes we see,” he said.

Nathan Diament, the Washington director for the Orthodox Union, which leads lobbying for the security grants alongside the JFNA and Agudath Israel of America, said, “Mr. Mayorkas was very responsive to the concerns of the Jewish community.”

Mayorkas, a Cuba native, is the son of a member of that island’s small Sephardic community. His mother is a Romanian Holocaust survivor, and Mayorkas has said her sense of peril after surviving the genocide helped inform his worldview.”

CAP: Alejandro Mayorkas

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