Oct. 19 (UPI) — Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is in isolation after testing positive for COVID-19, the agency confirmed Tuesday.

Mayorkas, 61, is fully vaccinated and is showing only mild symptoms, DHS Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs Marsha Espinosa wrote in a Twitter message.


“Secretary Mayorkas tested positive this morning for COVID-19 after taking a test as part of routine pre-travel protocols,” she wrote. “He is experiencing only mild congestion; he is fully vaccinated and will isolate and work at home per [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] protocols and medical advice.”

Mayorkas assumed the leadership of DHS in February, becoming the first Latino and immigrant to oversee the agency which implements and oversees the nation’s immigration policies. He served as deputy Homeland Security secretary from 2013 to 2016.

Just a month into his tenure, he fired all but three members of the Homeland Security Advisory Council, including Democrats, Republicans and allies of former Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Ken Cuccinelli and former acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan.

The move came amid a migrant surge at the southwestern border which has continued throughout this year and has contributed to sagging poll numbers for President Joe Biden.


In April, Mayorkas ordered an internal probe for domestic violent extremism and White supremacists within the ranks of DHS in the wake of the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol building by supports of former President Donald Trump.

The department, which oversees the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Secret Service and includes 240,000 employees, has been criticized following several high-profile instances of racism and White supremacy among its ranks.

Mayorkas is scheduled to appear before the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday for a DHS oversight hearing. It was was not immediately known if the testimony would proceed in light of his COVID-19 diagnosis.