The 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.
In a message to staff, Mayorkas said, “We are grateful to Karen for her service during the critical first nine months of the new Administration.”
“Her work was instrumental in achieving a successful transition. I personally am indebted to Karen for her wise counsel, support, and friendship since the first day I returned to the Department in early February. We wish Karen all the very best,” he added.
Officials have stood up an operation at the DHS headquarters with multiple federal agencies, including US Customs and Border Protection, the FBI, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the State Department, among others. The goal is to design and manage the operation, to troubleshoot issues that might arise and coordinate logistics.
This story has been updated with additional developments.