David Shahoulian, Assistant Secretary for Border and Immigration Policy at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), notified his colleagues that he is leaving DHS at the end of this month. This might not be an eyebrow-raising action if he was the only senior official leaving DHS at this time. He’s not. Yesterday I wrote about Secretary Mayorkas’ chief of staff’s resignation.
Not only is he giving the lamest of excuses for his departure, to spend more time with this family, but his departure looks like a signal that DHS has even bigger problems than we originally suspected. I don’t begrudge families spending time together but that is the excuse that is frequently used by people who are either being pushed out of their jobs or fired. In this case, it’s unlikely he’s being fired. Shahoulian played a key part on Biden’s transition team and he has experience at a senior level. He previously worked in the Obama administration.
This more likely points to some major personnel change being made, or at least we can hope that is the case. Besides the chief of staff at DHS leaving for some unnamed opportunity, the head ICE prosecutor is reported to be on the way out, too. Now the lead DHS border policy official is waving good-bye. It sure looks like the top people are looking around and deciding now is the time to make their move toward the exits. DHS is a sinking ship right now, by all appearances. Shahoulian is a partisan Democrat who not only worked at DHS during the Obama administration but he served as chief counsel for the Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee during the Trump administration. That committee obtained documents from the Trump administration on its zero-tolerance policy on illegal migration at the southern border.
Perhaps Shahoulian sees the writing on the wall – DHS is about to be buried with its duties to screen and relocate tens of thousands of Afghan refugees on top of the thousands of illegal migrants already in the system waiting for their asylum claims to be reviewed. We know what a mess the southern border is thanks to Biden’s border crisis so it’s enough to make a person shudder thinking of what is to come. If DHS already can’t handle what is on its plate, how will it be able to keep adding more work on top of it?
The departures of the two senior officials come as DHS is responding to a number of pressing issues in the U.S., including the large influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the resettlement of thousands of Afghans that were evacuated in recent weeks.
President Biden last month directed DHS to serve as the lead agency overseeing the resettlement of vulnerable Afghans and allies from the country.
The agency established a Unified Coordination Group to manage the effort, which includes initial immigration processing, COVID-19 testing and subsequent isolation or quarantine if needed, and resettlement support for individuals who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.
The administration is expecting to welcome 65,000 Afghan refugees by the end of September, according to CNN. An additional 30,000 will likely follow in the next 12 months.
Those numbers, the network noted, mark a sizable increase from the previous number of monthly admissions, around 2,000.
There is little reason to think that Secretary Mayorkas is up to the task of running a competent and efficient bureaucracy. Frankly, he’s been a disaster so far. It’s hard not to believe that he was given the job because he checked an identity box for the Biden administration. Biden puts a premium on boasting about appointing people who are the first of a particular identity group, whether they are the best qualified for the job or not. Identity politics are the core of the Democrat Party. That’s why some of Biden’s appointees seem so out of place in their departments. It wasn’t about thinking outside the box, it was all about checking identity boxes. Mayorkas served at DHS during the Obama administration, first as director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and then as deputy secretary of DHS. Biden, however, was eager to hold Mayorkas up as the first immigrant and the first person born in Latin America to lead DHS. That may be all well and good but he clearly has not been up to the promotion.
Why hasn’t Mayorkas been replaced? Biden’s border crisis continues to worsen every month with no relief in sight. DHS needs more than moving the seats around the deck of this Titanic. The ship’s sinking.