Kirstjen Nielsen to Resign From Department of Homeland Security

Posted April 09, 2019

US Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, President Donald Trump has said on Twitter.

"Secretary Nielsen oversaw a department that separated families at the border.I'm concerned by the reports that she is resigning because she was not extreme enough", tweeted Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-MD). "I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for @DHSgov. I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!"

Gloria Chavez with the U.S. Border Patrol, center, and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen listen. Trump announced Nielsen's resignation on Sunday.

The dissonance between Mr. Trump and Ms. Nielsen was particularly pronounced of late as the Secretary struggled to keep up with her boss's agenda.

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Trump has been pressing in recent weeks to reinstate the family separation policy, which Nielsen resisted, a source said.

McAleenan joins a growing list of "acting" department heads stepping in to fill Trump administration vacancies at ICE, the Pentagon, and the White House Chief of Staff. "She got caught up in President Trump's anti-immigration machine".

The longest United States government shutdown was triggered in December 2018, when Democrats failed to support funding for the border wall, while the "zero tolerance" immigration policy at the border which led to family separation in 2018 was widely criticised, with the U.S. president eventually back-tracking.

Trump's chatter about the country being "full" is clearly a reference to the "replacement theory" that inspired both the Charlottesville rioters in 2017 and the New Zealand mosque shooter last month.

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In the most widely-panned episode, Nielsen infamously told a Senate committee that was scrutinizing the president's "s--hole countries" remarks that she did not know if Norway was a predominantly white country. She talked to the White House counsel to see if there were any exceptions, but he told her that her reading of the law was correct.

Nielsen initially resigned effective Sunday after a meeting with Trump in the White House residence during which they reportedly clashed over the president's desire to revive a policy of separating children from adults - in some cases, their parents - at the southern border. I just want to thank the president again for the tremendous opportunity to serve this country.

Repeatedly subjected to tough questioning by Democrats at congressional hearings, Nielsen became a lightning rod for criticism of Trump's policies.

Nielsen, 46, has held the position since December 2017. As IJR previously reported, ICE and CBP have been forced to release migrants into the US due to overcrowding of detention centers. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Boston Herald and The Dallas Morning News.

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