Second official departs DHS as agency grapples with border surge and Afghanistan refugee influx

Second official departs DHS as agency grapples with border surge and Afghanistan refugee influx
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David Shahoulian, a senior Biden official at the Department of Homeland Security and influential figure on border issues, is leaving the department for personal reasons, a source familiar with the departure told CNN Tuesday, marking the latest shake-up at DHS.

The resignation comes a day after Karen Olick, the chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announced that she’s resigning to move on to another, undisclosed opportunity, a DHS official told CNN. That post will be temporarily filled by Jennifer Higgins, who serves as associate director of refugee, asylum and international operations at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, until someone is appointed, the official said.

DHS faces a range of challenges, from grappling with high numbers of migrant apprehensions at the US-Mexico border to most recently, serving as the lead coordinating agency in the Afghanistan resettlement efforts.

By the end of September, the administration is anticipating the arrival of 65,000 Afghan refugees to the United States. Another 30,000 are expected in the next 12 months. It is an extraordinary number of arrivals, compared to the last four years when admissions hovered around 2,000 a month, a steep decline from previous administrations.

Shahoulian, who worked at DHS under the Obama administration, has been assistant secretary for border security and immigration. Shahoulian also served as Democratic chief counsel of the House Judiciary Committee — one of the key committees that obtained documents from the Trump administration about the controversial “zero tolerance” policy that resulted in the separation of thousands of migrant families.

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