Kirstjen Nielsen still supports Trump's immigration policies

Arturo Kim
April 9, 2019

On Sunday, President Trump tweeted that McAleenan, now the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will take over DHS in an acting capacity.

President Trump tweeted she would be temporarily replaced by Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. I already hate Kevin.

On Friday, US media reported that Trump also pulled his nominee to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement department - saying he wanted someone "tougher" at the helm of the Homeland Security sub-agency.

Throughout the letter, Nielsen echoed her appreciation for the agents she worked with, writing, "Supporting these patriots has been the honor of a lifetime".

Miller's objection to Nielsen may have been that while she was game to inflict as much punishment as legally allowable on Central American refugees who crossed the USA border, she hesitated to flout the law or tank the economy in order to fulfill the Trump agenda. Mick Mulvaney, the White House chief of staff, also serves in that role on an acting basis.

The announcement she is leaving her post comes days after the president visited the southern border.

Yes, welcome to the bleak world in which, despite sanctioning the so-called "zero tolerance" policy that separated more than 2,000 immigrant children from their parents a year ago, Nielsen still isn't considered one of the true immigration "hardliners" in the Trump administration, according to CNN.

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After growing public outcry, Trump ended the policy in June.

Nielsen has agreed to stay on as Secretary of DHS until April 10.

The president, who made immigration a key campaign theme, has grown increasingly frustrated with his officials, even as they have implemented aggressive policies to limit immigration.

According to two of the sources, Nielsen told Trump that federal court orders prohibited the Department of Homeland Security from reinstating the policy, and that he would be reversing his own executive order from June that ended family separations.

The senior DHS official told CNN McAleenan is "not an ideologue or fire breather" on immigration like White House senior adviser Stephen Miller or Trump. That Nielsen herself is gone now is maybe of little solace to the families still waiting to see their children again, but at least somebody is now feeling defeated within that administration... we can only hope. Kris Kobach, the former Kansas secretary of state and a prominent immigration hard-liner, has been floated in the past for the job.

He insists that the arrival of immigrants across the southern US border constitutes a national emergency.

Nielsen initially joined the Trump administration in January 2017 as an assistant to Trump's first DHS secretary, John Kelly. She also worked as Trump's Deputy Chief of Staff.

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