Report: Homeland Security Chief of Staff Suddenly Resigns

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 1: Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas speaks during the daily press briefing at the White House on March 1, 2021 in Washington, DC. Mayorkas discussed the Biden administration's plans for overhauling immigration policy. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The chief of staff to Biden’s Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, Karen Olick, suddenly resigned on Monday, according to a report.

Olick, who is planning to leave the department at the end of the month, is said to be leaving for an “undisclosed opportunity,” Politico reports.

Mayorkas, in an email, allegedly told DHS officials that his chief of staff “has decided to resign her position and pursue new opportunities. We are grateful to Karen for her service during the critical first nine months of the new Administration.”

Olick, who did not respond to Politico’s comment request, reportedly wrote in a parting note: “Though too often underappreciated by our fellow citizens, I am continually struck by how many millions of Americans sleep in safety every night because so many at DHS do not sleep.”

The report added:

The shakeup comes as the Biden administration tries to grapple with the flow of migrants at the southern border. Higgins is a career civil servant and has worked for the federal government for over 20 years, whereas Olick was most recently a prominent official at SKDK, the powerful Democratic strategic communications firm. She recently led the firm’s ballot initiative practice.

Employees and senior officials at DHS have also been working non-stop on other crises that their department is taking a lead on including responding to the impacts of Hurricane Ida and helping vet tens of thousands of Afghan refugees who the U.S. evacuated from Kabul in August.

The current associate director of Refugee, Asylum, and International Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will step into the role temporarily until a new chief of staff is appointed, according to officials who told the new chief of staff organization.

Follow Jacob Bliss on Twitter @jacobmbliss.

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