Former Obama Border Patrol Chief Says Nielsen’s Exit Will ‘Jump Start’ DHS

Apr 09, 2019, 00:30
Former Obama Border Patrol Chief Says Nielsen’s Exit Will ‘Jump Start’ DHS

Kirstjen Nielsen, the United States homeland security chief whose departure was announced by Donald Trump on Sunday, was said to be a frequent target of the president's ire despite being among the staunchest defenders of his controversial immigration policies. ".I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for [DHS] I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!"

Nielsen, 46, has held the position since December 2017.

Prior to becoming DHS secretary, Nielsen was Kelly's chief of staff at the agency - which has an annual budget of more than $40 billion and employs almost a quarter of a million people in multiple subdivisions. "She was completely unqualified to lead @DHS-and that's why I voted against confirming her".

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"Kirstjen Nielsen's resignation was long overdue", California Senator Kamala Harris, who is seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, said on Twitter on Monday.

Replacing her on an acting basis will be Kevin McAleenan, who now serves as the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Trump said Sunday. A protege of Kelly's, he brought her to the White House after Trump named him chief of staff. Sources told NBC that Trump has pushed for the policy's reinstatement since last January, after seeing an increase in illegal border crossings. "The President's risky and cruel anti-immigrant policies have only worsened the humanitarian suffering at the border and inflicted vast suffering on the families who have been torn apart".

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And in any case the children taken from their parents after crossing the border were "well taken care of", she insisted.

Repeatedly subjected to tough questioning by Democrats at congressional hearings, Nielsen became a lightning rod for criticism of Trump's policies. Sure enough, Politico reported on this late Sunday night, writing that while it "was not immediately clear whether Miller played a role in the departure of Nielsen", he has mounted a pressure campaign to remove anyone he views as insufficiently hostile to nonwhite immigration.

Ultimately, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney seemed to have been able to talk the President out of closing the port of El Paso. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said the government needed "steady, informed and effective leadership in the administration and in Congress to have any hope of fixing our out-of-control border security and immigration problems".

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