The latest on the Biden presidency

By Meg Wagner, Melissa Macaya, Mike Hayes, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:10 p.m. ET, February 2, 2021
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8:45 a.m. ET, February 2, 2021

Biden's Department of Homeland Security secretary to be confirmed today

 From CNN's Geneva Sands

Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on January 19, in Washington, DC.
Alejandro Mayorkas testifies during the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on January 19, in Washington, DC. Bill Clark/Pool/Getty Images

The final Senate confirmation vote for Department of Homeland Security Secretary nominee Alejandro Mayorkas is expected to happen today.

The vote, originally scheduled for Monday, was pushed due to the winter storm that hit the Washington, DC, metropolitan area, which is impacting flights of senators coming into town, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer's office.

Mayorkas' nomination was moving through the Senate but was stalled last week by Republicans who argued that the nominee hasn't been properly vetted on immigration issues. On Thursday, his nomination successfully cleared a procedural hurdle and a final vote on confirmation is on track for Tuesday.

That puts Mayorkas' start behind his predecessors. Former Presidents Donald Trump and Barack Obama had confirmed secretaries on their first days in office.

While DHS political appointees have begun to fill out their jobsaccording to department officials, leadership roles continue to be filled by officials in acting capacities -- a trend that was ubiquitous during the Trump administration.

Another DHS official said the delayed confirmation was "more of the same," as acting officials have led the department for much of the past four years.

Once confirmed, Mayorkas will be responsible for repairing a department that's been rattled by leadership turnover and vacancies for the better part of the last four years. The department has been without a Senate-confirmed leader since Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was ousted in spring 2019.

Here's a look at the Cabinet members that have been confirmed so far.

8:42 a.m. ET, February 2, 2021

White House will move forward with immigration executive actions today. Here's what Biden is expected to sign.

From CNN's Priscilla Alvarez and Paul LeBlanc

President Joe Biden signs executive orders on health care in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28.
President Joe Biden signs executive orders on health care in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, on January 28. Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Biden will sign three executive orders today that take aim at his predecessor's hardline immigration policies and try to rectify the consequences of those policies, including by establishing a task force designed to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border, according to senior administration officials.

The latest orders build upon the actions taken in Biden's first days in office and begin to provide a clearer picture of the administration's immigration priorities.

"President Trump was so focused on the wall that he did nothing to address the root cause of why people are coming to our southern border. It was a limited, wasteful and naive strategy, and it failed," one senior administration official said. "President Biden's approach is to deal with immigration comprehensively, fairly, and humanely."

Hours into his presidency, Biden moved to swiftly undo many Trump administration policies in a series of executive actions. He also sent an immigration bill to Congress. But his administration has already faced legal hurdles in implementing those policies. Last week, for example, a federal judge temporarily blocked Biden's 100-day pause on deportations, as the case proceeds.

Legal challenges are likely to continue to dog the administration as it sets forth its immigration agenda. On Tuesday, Biden is expected to follow his first-day actions by tackling family separation, the root causes of migration, and the legal immigration system.

These are the executive actions Biden has signed so far on immigration:

  • "Preserving and Fortifying Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals." Strengthens DACA after Trump's efforts to undo protections for undocumented people brought into the country as children.
  • "Proclamation on Ending Discriminatory Bans on Entry to the United States." Reverses the Trump administration's restrictions on US entry for passport holders from seven Muslim-majority countries.
  • "Executive Order on the Revision of Civil Immigration Enforcement Policies and Priorities." Undoes Trump's expansion of immigration enforcement.
  • "Proclamation on the Termination of Emergency With Respect to the Southern Border of the United States and Redirection of Funds Diverted to Border Wall Construction." Halts construction of the border wall by terminating the national emergency declaration used to fund it.
  • "Reinstating Deferred Enforced Departure for Liberians." Extends deferrals of deportation and work authorizations for Liberians with a haven in the United States until June 30, 2022.