President Joe Biden on Thursday nominated Markenzy Lapointe to fill the vacant seat for U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida. If confirmed, Lapointe, 54, would be the first Haitian American as well as the first Black lawyer to serve in the most powerful federal law enforcement position in South Florida.

The Southern District of Florida is one of the busiest, with about 250 federal prosecutors trying criminal cases that range from drug trafficking to financial fraud to public corruption.

Lapointe grew up in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, where his mother worked as a street vendor and his father as a tailor. He came to Miami at the age of 16 to live with his mother and other siblings in Liberty City, during the racially turbulent 1980s. His mother worked as a cleaning lady at Stefano’s restaurant on upscale Key Biscayne, but his father was absent during this time.

After graduating from Miami Edison Senior High School in 1987, Lapointe joined the U.S. Marines as a reservist while attending Miami Dade College for a couple of years. He transferred in 1990 to Florida State University, but then was called up when Iraq invaded Kuwait and was deployed for the Persian Gulf War.

Lapointe ultimately earned a bachelor’s degree from Florida State University in 1993; he received his law degree from the Florida State University College of Law in 1999.

He served as a law clerk for Florida Supreme Court Justice Harry Lee Anstead from 1999 to 2001. From 2002 to 2006, he served as an assistant United States attorney for the Southern District of Florida, the very office he has now been nominated to lead.

Lapointe is currently a partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP in Miami. Prior to joining that firm, he was a partner at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, also in Miami, where he first began working in 2006.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., said in a statement that he was a supporter of Lapointe.

“The president made the right decision by naming Markenzy Lapointe and Roger Handberg to these important positions,” Rubio said. “They have served their communities and country with distinction, and I expect both will respect the Constitution and uphold the rule of law without fear or favor.”

U.S. Rep. Frederica S. Wilson, a Miami Democrat, said she was also an early supporter of Lapointe’s nomination.

“After two years of interim leadership, this appointment will finally install a tenured and tried attorney to lead the agency with a clear vision,” Wilson said in a statement. “He is a home-grown, community-focused and experienced attorney.”

Lapointe’s nomination will have to be confirmed by a Senate vote.