MIAMI – Alejandro N. Mayorkas, the first Cuban American to serve as U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security, visited Miami-Dade County on Thursday. He and his team had meetings with local community leaders from Haiti, Cuba, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Mayorkas was traveling with Juan Gonzalez, the special assistant to the president and the senior director for the western hemisphere of the National Security Council, and Mark Feierstein, the U.S. Agency for International Development principal advisor.
Mayorkas announced his trip’s itinerary days before the 7.2 magnitude earthquake struck Haiti. He had already scheduled a meeting with members of the “Haitian-American diaspora” to discuss the “political crisis” and “U.S. efforts to support the Haitian people.”
Mayorkas visited Notre Dame d’Haiti Catholic Church in Miami’s Little Haiti and met with Rep. Frederica Wilson to talk about the “steadfast commitment” and “diligent work” to help Haitians recover “from back-to-back severe political and natural disaster crises,” according to a statement DHS released Thursday night.
Mayorkas, who was born in Havana, also visited the Our Lady of Charity National Shrine, a Catholic church of great significance to the Cuban diaspora. He met with a group of activists including Emilio Estefan, Yotuel Omar Manzanares Romero, and Rosa Maria Paya, the daughter of the late Cuban activist Oswaldo Payá.
In the afternoon, Mayorcas met with Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, and a group of first responders in Surfside. He delivered flowers in honor of the nearly 100 victims of the June 24th building collapse.
At Miami International Airport, Mayorkas met a group of officers from the Transportation Security Administration and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Gonzalez and Feierstein met with Florida Sen. Annette Taddeo and a group of Colombian and Venezuelan community leaders.
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The Biden Administration stands in solidarity with the Cuban people and their call for freedom. I join @POTUS in our commitment to holding the Cuban regime accountable, supporting the Cuban people, and ensuring Cuban Americans remain a vital partner in our efforts.— Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas (@SecMayorkas) August 19, 2021