Kirstjen Nielsen announced her resignation as the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary after a cordial meeting with President Trump on April 7. Her departure came after a clash with the president’s immigration policy.
Nielsen is the 12th cabinet official to leave the Trump administration, according to CBS News.
She thanked the president for the opportunity to be able to serve the country during her time as secretary. Nielsen is proud of the men and women who work hard to support and execute the mission of the DHS.
When speaking out for the time since her resignation, she stressed the importance of addressing the “humanitarian crisis” at the border.
“As you know, DHS has a vast array of missions. I want to make sure that we execute them all with excellence through the transition. I share the president’s goal of securing the border,” said Nielsen according to CBS News.
However, she has often been the target of Trump’s criticism during her time on the job. She was pressured by the president to become more aggressive and take action due to the rush of migrants at the U.S.-Mexico border.
“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,” stated Nielsen in her resignation letter according to the New York Times.
Trump recently requested Nielsen to close the border’s ports of entry and stop admitting asylum seekers, but she found that demand ineffective. Her resignation came shortly after the president indicated his animosity toward the recent increase in migrants at the southern border.
During the spring of 2018, a disagreement between Trump and Nielsen occurred. She became hesitant about signing a memo that called for the separation of migrant children from their families so their parents could be apprehended, according to the New York Times.
Nielsen’s resignation went into effect on April 10. During a time of political upheaval, her exit is part of a DHS overhaul organized by Stephen Miller, the president’s senior policy advisor.
She is known for her rigorous defense of the “zero tolerance” policy that culminated in the separation of families at the border. Nielsen blamed Congress for a “loophole” in laws that should be fixed.
In a White House briefing last year, she claimed that the Trump administration is pursuing a policy from previous administrations. The policy orders the separation of a child who is “in danger, there is no custodial relationship between family members, or if the adult has broken the law,” according to CBS News.
“As long as illegal entry remains a criminal offense, DHS will not look the other way,” stated Nielsen.
President Trump named Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, the acting secretary for the DHS. He is confident that McAleenan will perform the job well, according to Time magazine. The longtime border official is well-liked by Congress members and the Trump administration.
Bennie Thompson, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, said Nielsen’s tenure was disastrous from the beginning. “The policies she helped create have been an abysmal failure and have helped create the humanitarian crisis at the border,” said Thompson, according to Time magazine.
Senator Ron Johnson said the government and Congress needs highly effective leadership to help fix border security and immigration problems.