The final vote was 56-43, with Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., not voting. Mayorkas, a former head of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and deputy Homeland Security secretary, will be the first immigrant to hold the top DHS spot.
Mayorkas’ confirmation was less bipartisan than another member of Biden’s cabinet confirmed Tuesday: Pete Buttigieg became transportation secretary in an 83-13 vote.
Here are the six GOP senators who broke with a majority in their caucus to confirm Mayorkas:
Sen. Shelley Capito, R-W.Va.
Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine
Sen. Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska
Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio
Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah
Other Republicans issued objections to Mayorkas, some citing a 2015 inspector general report that found Mayorkas intervened to help foreign investors in the EB-5 visa program who were connected to top Democrats.
In one case, Mayorkas “pressured staff” to expedite the review of a Las Vegas hotel and casino investment at the request of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, according to the inspector general report from 2015.
But others noted pressing security needs in voting for a swift confirmation — the department has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was ousted in spring 2019.
During Committee markup, Portman said he found some “very concerning integrity issues” in the inspector general report, but “found him to be someone that did listen to both sides” when working with him during the Obama years.
“I found him to be, as compared to other officials in the Obama administration, actually, you know, more toward the middle,” he said.
GOP Senate leader Mitch McConnell on Tuesday disagreed with that characterization. He called Mayorkas an “ethically-compromised, partisan lawyer” who abused his power during the Obama administration and urged colleagues to vote against him.
“As a high-ranking official in the Obama administration, Mr. Mayorkas did his best to turn U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services [USCIS] into an unethical favor factory for Democratic Party royalty,” McConnell, R-Ky., said.
But Mayorkas’ chances of getting confirmed were helped by support from past DHS officials, including those who served in the Trump administration.
“I do think he’s qualified,” former acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf told ABC News. “Are his views and his policies the one that I would have picked? Probably not. But that’s not to say he’s not qualified, just like I’m sure he would say, my views and policies are not to his liking either.”