Thursday, May 23, 2024

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigns amid immigration crisis

Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security who has become a face of President Trump’s hardline immigration push, is leaving the administration, President Trump announced on Twitter yesterday afternoon.

“Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service,” Trump said on Twitter. “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!” Trump continued.

Nielsen did not resign willingly, a person close to her told CNN, but was under pressure to do so. McAleenan is a holdover from the Obama administration and was sworn in on March 20, 2018, as commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection.

He is expected to serve as the acting secretary “in the short term,” meaning he is not expected to be in the position for the long term, according to a White House official. Trump had grown increasingly frustrated with the situation at the border, which has seen an influx in migrants, predominantly from Northern Triangle countries.

In California on Friday, a senior administration official tells CNN, Trump told border agents he wanted them to stop letting people cross the border, even though Central American asylum seekers according to US law can do so. Nielsen “believed the situation was becoming untenable with the President becoming increasingly unhinged about the border crisis and making unreasonable and even impossible requests,” a senior administration official tells CNN.

“I hereby resign from the position of Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), effective April 7th 2019,” Nielsen wrote in her resignation letter. “Despite our progress in reforming homeland security for a new age, I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi released a statement on Nielsen’s resignation, saying, “It is deeply alarming that the Trump Administration official who put children in cages is reportedly resigning because she is not extreme enough for the White House’s liking.” Pelosi went on to say, “The President’s dangerous 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.”

The President posted on Twitter shortly after announcing Nielsen’s departure that the “Country is FULL!” and wrote there have been more apprehensions at the southern border “than in many years.” He called on Congress to “fix loopholes” and reiterated his threat to close the border.