09 April, 2019
Department of Homeland Security Secretary (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen announced her resignation Sunday evening, taking time to thank the law enforcement agents she served with while bashing Congress for dragging their feet on border security. She is now a 2018-2019 Reveal Fellow at the Center for Investigative Reporting.
President Trump tweeted she would be temporarily replaced by Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan.
She gave no reason for her departure in her resignation letter, although she said this was "the right time for me to step aside" and said the United States "is safer today than when I joined the Administration".
"System has been broken for many years".
"She leaves behind a troubled legacy at the Department of Homeland Security". The President wanted families separated even if they were apprehended within the US. Solutions that might actually help - vastly increasing aid to the countries from which the migrants are fleeing and hiring more immigration judges - do not appeal to Trump, who has a vengeful, irrational approach.
When Kelly moved to the White House as Trump's top aide in July 2017, Nielsen went with him as his deputy.
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Nielsen, 46, had been DHS secretary since December 2017. Disaster relief, cyber security, transportation security, the Coast Guard, customs and policing the borders all fall under the department's purview. They have denounced her implementation of the president's stringent immigration agenda, including the discontinued "zero tolerance" policy that led to the separations of more than 2,600 migrant children from their families near the border.
Images of sobbing children being taken from their parents past year fuelled a national outcry as condemnation poured in from the United Nations, human rights groups, and four former first ladies - all mothers - who called the policy "cruel" and "immoral". There she echoed Trump's comments on the situation at the border, though she ducked out of the room without explanation for some time while Trump spoke.
According to Axios, his tweet came while Nielsen was trying to put out her own resignation statement after a meeting between the two had gone off the rails.
Replacing her on an acting basis will be Kevin McAleenan, who now serves as the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, Trump said Sunday.
Ms. Nielsen's relationship with Mr Trump has been rocky - she was often berated for not being tough enough, she alternated between resisting some of Mr. Trump's more outlandish policy requests and first capitulating, then staunchly defending the administration's policies.
Trump has made a clampdown on illegal immigration a centerpiece of his two-year-old presidency, leading chants of "Build that wall" at his rallies as he has sought to cut back on the number of newcomers entering the USA without proper documentation. She walked into it prepared to resign, depending on what she heard.
The announcement she is leaving her post comes days after the president visited the southern border.