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Second senior official leaving DHS in a week

The Hill logo The Hill 9/15/2021 Mychael Schnell
a sign on a wooden surface: Second senior official leaving DHS in a week © Greg Nash Second senior official leaving DHS in a week

David Shahoulian, a senior official at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is leaving his post, making him the second high-ranking official to leave the department this week.

A source confirmed to The Hill on Tuesday that Shahoulian, who served as assistant secretary of border and immigration policy, has resigned from his post.

Shahoulian is leaving the department for personal reasons, according to CNN, citing a source familiar with the departure. He also served at DHS under the Obama administration and previously spent time as assistant secretary for border security and immigration.

The departure comes one day after Karen Olick, who was serving as chief of staff to Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, announced that she would be stepping down from her position at the end of the month.

She is departing for an undisclosed opportunity, according to Politico.

Jennifer Higgins, who is the current associate director of refugee, asylum and international operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will reportedly take over as chief of staff until a replacement is chosen.


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The departures of the two senior officials come as DHS is responding to a number of pressing issues in the U.S., including the large influx of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and the resettlement of thousands of Afghans that were evacuated in recent weeks.

President Biden last month directed DHS to serve as the lead agency overseeing the resettlement of vulnerable Afghans and allies from the country.

The agency established a Unified Coordination Group to manage the effort, which includes initial immigration processing, COVID-19 testing and subsequent isolation or quarantine if needed, and resettlement support for individuals who are not U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents.

The administration is expecting to welcome 65,000 Afghan refugees by the end of September, according to CNN. An additional 30,000 will likely follow in the next 12 months.

Those numbers, the network noted, mark a sizable increase from the previous number of monthly admissions, around 2,000.

Shahoulian was previously the Democratic chief counsel of the House Judiciary Committee, which was one of the congressional panels that acquired documents regarding former President Trump's controversial "zero tolerance" policy that separated thousands of migrant families, CNN noted.

Rebecca Beitsch contributed to this report.

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