President-elect Joe Biden and Vice-President elect Kamala Harris have made diversity a key component of their soon-to-be administration. From women and people from various races and backgrounds to immigrants and the children of immigrants, the new administration is shaping up to be the most diverse in U.S. history.
Here are the immigrants and children of immigrants that will be helping Joe Biden and Kamala Harris lead the country starting on January 20, 2021.
United States Trade Representative in the Biden-Harris Administration
Parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan
Katherine Tai, whose parents immigrated to the U.S. from Taiwan, will serve as the United States Trade Representative in the Biden-Harris Administration. In her new role, Tai will be Biden’s top trade negotiator. She will be in charge of enforcing America’s import rules, including the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, deciding the future of tariffs on Chinese goods and repairing the country’s economic ties with allies that were suppressed by the Trump Administration. She currently serves as the chief lawyer on trade to the Chairman and Democratic Members of the Committee on Ways and Means. If confirmed, Tai will be the first Asian American and woman of color to serve as in this position.
Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden-Harris Administration
Parents immigrated to the U.S. from India
Neera Tanden, whose parents are from India, will serve as Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Biden-Harris Administration. Her position will be critical to the economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuring everyone has a fair and equal opportunity to get ahead. She currently serves as the President and CEO for the Center of American Progress and on the New Jersey Restart and Recovery Commission. Tandem would be the first woman of color and first South Asian American to lead the Office of Management and Budget.
Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo
Deputy Secretary of the Treasury in the Biden-Harris Administration
Born in Nigeria
Wally Adeyemo was born in Nigeria and was raised in Southern California. In the Biden-Harris Administration, he will serve as Deputy Secretary of the Treasury along with the department’s first female secretary Janet L. Yellen. He has said he wants to focus the Treasury Department’s role in protecting national security, including using a series of sanctions to hold foreign actors accountable. For the last year, he has served as the first president of the Obama Foundation. Adeyemo would be the first African American Deputy Secretary of the Treasury.
Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Biden-Harris Administration
Mother immigrated from Mexico, father raised in Mexico
Xavier Becerra, whose mother immigrated to the United States from Guadalajara, Mexico and whose father was raised in Tijuana, Mexico will serve as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) in the Biden-Harris Administration. Like many first generation Americans, Becerra is the first person in his family to graduate from college. As secretary of HHS, Becerra will be in charge of leading the country safely out of the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act and has worked to ensure everyone, especially communities of color, have access to healthcare. He also led the defense for DACA at the Supreme Court in 2019. When confirmed, Becerra will be the first Latino to lead HHS.
Dr. Vivek Murthy
Surgeon General in the Biden-Harris Administration
Born in England
Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was born in England to immigrants from India, was raised in Miami, Florida. He will serve as Surgeon General in the Biden-Harris Administration where he will work with top health officials including Dr. Anthony Fauci to end the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States. Murthy is no stranger to this role, as he served in the same position under the Obama Administration from 2014 to 2017. He is expected to have a similar but broader role in this new administration.
Secretary of Homeland Security in the Biden-Harris Administration
Born in Cuba
Alejandro Mayorkas was born in Cuba and came to the U.S. as a refugee in 1960. He grew up in Miami and Los Angeles where he received his law degree from Loyola Law School. He has worked as a U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California and Director of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), as well as Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security under the Obama Administration. He was one of the creators of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that has benefited thousands of undocumented youth across the country. Now, he will serve as Secretary of Homeland Security in the Biden-Harris Administration. In this position he will play a critical role in the future of the U.S. immigration system and undoing all of Trump’s cruel immigration policies. Mayorkas will be the first Latino and immigrant to serve as Secretary of Homeland Security.
Policy Director to Dr. Jill Biden in the Biden-Harris Administration
Parents immigrated from India
Mala Adiga, whose parents immigrated from India, will serve as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden’s policy director in the new administration. She grew up in Illinois where she earned her law degree from the University of Chicago Law School. She previously worked for Joe Biden as the Director for Higher Education and Military Families at the Biden Foundation. Adiga has also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Academic Programs at the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs during the Obama Administration.
Principal Deputy Press Secretary in the Biden-Harris Administration
Born in Matinique, parents immigrated from Haiti
Karine Jean-Pierre was born in Martinique to parents who immigrated from Haiti. She grew up in Queens, New York and has a Master of Public Affairs from Columbia University. Jean-Pierre has worked on several presidential campaigns including Barack Obama’s in 2008 and again in 2012 as well as Martin O’Malley’s in 2016. After that she became the Chief Public Affairs Officer for MoveOn.org as well as a political analyst on MSNBC. She will now be serving the Biden-Harris Administration as the Principal Deputy Press Secretary.
Domestic Policy Advisor to the Vice President in the Biden-Harris Administration
Parents immigrated from Sri Lanka
Rohini Kosoglu, whose parents are from Sri Lanka, will serve as Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Kamala Harris in the new administration. She grew up in New Jersey and is a graduate of the University of Michigan and George Washington University where she received degrees in English and Legislative Affairs, respectively. Before joining the Biden Administration, Kosoglu was the 2020 resident fellow at the Institute of Politics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She has made history by becoming the first South Asian American woman to serve as Chief of Staff in the United States Senate when she worked as Kamala Harris’ Chief of Staff for her Senate office.
Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón
Chief of Staff to Dr. Jill Biden in the Biden-Harris Administration
Born in Dominican Republic
Julissa Reynoso Pantaleón was born in the Dominican Republic and immigrated to the United States in 1982. She grew up in the Bronx, New York and received her bachelors’ degree in government from Harvard University. She went on to earn a master’s degree from Emmanuel College at the University of Cambridge before getting her law degree from Columbia Law School. Reynoso Pantaleón has worked on Hillary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaigns, respectively. During the Obama Administration, she served as the United States Ambassador to Uruguay. She will now be the Chief of Staff to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.
Deputy White House Communications Director in the Biden-Harris Administration
Parents immigrated from Guatemala
Pili Tobar was born in Florida but raised Guatemala, her parents’ native country. In the early 2000s, Tobar returned to the United States and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Miami. Since then, she has worked as the Director of Hispanic media for the Democratic National Committee and the Communications Director for the Latino Victory Project as well as Hispanic Media Director for Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer. She will now serve the Biden-Harris Administration as the Deputy White House Communications Director. Before joining the Biden-Harris team, Tobar worked here at America’s Voice, as our own Deputy Director.
Father from Jamaica and Mother from India
The vice-president elect herself is making history by becoming the first woman of color and child of immigrants to be elected Vice President of the United States. Harris’ parents immigrated to the United States in the 1960s from Jamaica and India. She grew up in Oakland, California where she started to get involved in public service. Harris attended Howard University before returning to California to work as District Attorney of San Francisco. She then went on to become Attorney General and Senator of California. On Inauguration Day 2021, Harris will make history once again when she becomes the first woman, first Black woman, first Asian American, and first child of immigrants to be Vice President.