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President-elect Joe Biden announced this week he intends to nominate Alejandro Mayorkas to head the Department of Homeland Security, making him the first Latino and immigrant chosen to do so. The Cuban American was deputy secretary of DHS under former Secretary Jeh Johnson and the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during former President Barack Obama’s term. If he is confirmed by the Senate, Mayorkas will also oversee other agencies that include Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard and the Secret Service. Many immigrant advocacy groups supported Biden’s selection despite high deportation rates under Obama’s DHS. NBC News
In other federal immigration news…
Tourists May Pay Up to $15,000 Bond to Visit United States
The Trump administration has issued a temporary rule that could require tourists and business travelers from 24 countries, 15 from Africa, to pay up to a $15,000 bond to visit the U.S. The rule allows U.S. consular officers to require tourists and business travelers from specific countries to pay a refundable bond of $5,000, $10,000 or $15,000. The U.S. State Department said the temporary rule, which begins Dec. 24 and runs until June 24, is aimed at countries that have 10 percent or higher rates of overstaying visas. AMNY
No Immigration Law Experience Needed to Become Judge
Attorneys are not required to have immigration law experience in order to become an immigration judge, and that fact is obvious in recent immigration court hires. In December 2019, 11 attorneys with no immigration law experience were hired and began hearing cases in January 2020. The American Bar Association recommends new hires receive at least a month of training in immigration law. And while the ABA has noticed new immigration judges were assigned to shadow mentors for a year, it was unclear on how many mentors were chosen. The Hi (Opinion)