Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen has resigned | Inquirer News
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Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen has resigned

/ 08:03 AM April 08, 2019
 Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen has resigned

FILE – In this Monday, March 18, 2019, file photo, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen speaks at George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium in Washington. In a tweet on Sunday, April 7, 2019, President Donald Trump said he’s accepted Nielsen’s resignation. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON – Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen resigned on Sunday amid the administration’s growing frustration and bitterness over the number of Central American families crossing the southern border, two people familiar with the decision said.

President Donald Trump thanked her for her work in a tweet and announced U.S.

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Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan would be taking over as acting head of the department.

McAleenan is a longtime border official who is well-respected by members of Congress and within the administration.

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The decision to name an immigration officer to the post reflects Trump’s priority for a sprawling department founded to combat terrorism following the Sept. 11 attacks.

Though Trump aides were eyeing a staff shake-up at Homeland Security and had already withdrawn the nomination for another key immigration post, the development Sunday was unexpected.

Nielsen traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday with Trump to participate in a roundtable with border officers and local law enforcement.

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.

As they toured a section of newly rebuilt barriers, Nielsen was at Trump’s side, introducing him to local officials.

She returned to Washington afterward on a Coast Guard Gulfstream, as Trump continued on a fundraising trip to California and Nevada.

But privately, she had grown increasingly frustrated by what she saw as a lack of support from other departments and increased meddling by Trump aides, the people said.

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She went into a meeting with Trump at the White House in Sunday not knowing whether she’d be fired or would resign, and she ended up resigning, they said.

Her resignation letter , obtained by The Associated Press, had not a whiff of controversy unlike others who have left from the administration.

“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,” she wrote.

“I hope that the next secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impeded our ability to fully secure America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse.”

There have been persistent tensions between the White House and Nielsen almost from the moment she became secretary, after her predecessor, John Kelly, became the White House chief of staff in 2017.

Nielsen was viewed as resistant to some of the harshest immigration measures supported by the president and his aides, particularly senior adviser Stephen Miller, both on matters around the border and others like protected status for some refugees. /gsg

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TAGS: Homeland Security Secretary, Kirstjen Nielsen, resign, Trump, US news
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