Despite resignation, Kirstjen Nielsen says she still supports Trump’s border policies

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Kirstjen Nielsen mentioned Monday she nonetheless shares President Donald Trump’s purpose of securing the border, a day after she resigned as Homeland Safety secretary amid Trump’s frustration and bitterness over a spike in Central American migration.

Trump introduced on Sunday in a tweet that U.S. Customs and Border Safety Commissioner Kevin McAleenan can be taking on as performing head of the division. The choice to call a high immigration officer to the publish displays Trump’s precedence for the sprawling division based to fight terrorism following the Sept. 11 assaults.


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Trump’s Homeland Security Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen resigns

Nielsen had traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border on Friday with Trump to take part in a roundtable with border officers and native regulation enforcement. There she echoed Trump’s feedback on the state of affairs on the border, although she ducked out of the room whereas Trump spoke. As they toured a piece of newly rebuilt obstacles, Nielsen was at Trump’s facet, introducing him to native officers. She returned to Washington afterward as Trump continued on a fundraising journey to California and Nevada.

However on Sunday, she wrote in her resignation letter that “it’s the proper time for me to step apart.” She wrote that she hoped “the following secretary can have the help of Congress and the courts in fixing the legal guidelines which have impeded our skill to completely safe America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse.”
Nielsen informed reporters outdoors her Alexandria, Virginia house Monday that she continues to help the president’s purpose of securing the border.

“I’ll proceed to help all efforts to deal with the humanitarian and safety disaster on the border,” she mentioned in her first public remarks because the shock resignation, thanking the president “for the large alternative to serve this nation.”

Nielsen had grown more and more pissed off by what she noticed as a scarcity of help from different departments and elevated meddling by Trump aides on troublesome immigration points, in response to three individuals aware of particulars of her resignation. They spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to debate the matter.

WATCH: Kirstjen Nielsen leaving function as Homeland Safety Secretary, Trump broadcasts





She went into the White Home on Sunday to fulfill with Trump not realizing whether or not she’d be fired or would resign. She ended up resigning, although she was not compelled to take action, they mentioned.

Although Trump aides have been eyeing a employees shake-up on the Division of Homeland Safety and had already withdrawn the nomination of one other key immigration official, the event Sunday was surprising.

Nonetheless, it was unclear how McAleenan would instantly assume the function. The company’s undersecretary of administration, Claire Grady, is technically subsequent in line for the job, and he or she might want to resign — or extra seemingly be fired — to ensure that McAleenan to imagine the publish.

“The president works very properly with Kevin McAleenan. He’s completed an unimaginable job within the administration and we count on that relationship and the work to proceed,” White Home spokesman Hogan Gidley informed reporters Monday.


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He cited McAleenan’s “intensive” data of immigration points and mentioned the change in management would hopefully result in “huge adjustments” on the border.

Nielsen is the newest particular person felled within the Trump administration’s unprecedented churn of high employees and Cupboard officers, led to by the president’s mercurial administration type, insistence on blind loyalty and rash coverage bulletins.

She was additionally the best profile feminine Cupboard member, and her exit leaves DHS together with the Pentagon and even the White Home employees with out everlasting heads. Patrick Shanahan has held the publish of performing protection secretary because the former secretary, Jim Mattis, was pushed out in December over criticism of the president’s Syria withdrawal plans. Appearing White Home chief of employees Mick Mulvaney has held his publish since January, following John Kelly’s resignation final 12 months.

McAleenan has helped form lots of the administration’s insurance policies so far and is taken into account extremely competent by congressional leaders, the White Home and Homeland Safety officers. However it’s unclear if he can have way more of an impact on the problems on the border. The Trump administration has bumped up in opposition to authorized restrictions and courtroom rulings which have hamstrung a lot of its main efforts to remake border safety.

WATCH: ‘Higher, quicker, cheaper’: Trump touts new border wall





Rep. Joaquin Castro, chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, was vital of Nielsen, saying she spent her tenure “championing President Trump’s merciless anti-immigrant agenda,” and he referred to as McAleenan’s appointment “deeply disturbing.”

“He can’t be trusted as Appearing DHS Secretary based mostly on his report of prioritizing Trump’s dangerous insurance policies that undermine nationwide safety and the economic system, and damage weak households and kids on the border,” Castro, a Texas Democrat, mentioned in a press release.

Tensions between the White Home and Nielsen have endured nearly from the second she grew to become secretary, after her predecessor, Kelly, grew to become the White Home chief of employees in 2017. Nielsen was seen as proof against among the harshest immigration measures supported by the president and his aides, significantly senior adviser Stephen Miller, each on issues across the border and others like protected standing for some refugees.


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As soon as Kelly left the White Home, Nielsen’s days gave the impression to be numbered, and he or she had anticipated to be pushed out final November.

Throughout the federal government shutdown over Trump’s insistence for funding for a border wall, Nielsen’s standing contained in the White Home appeared to rise. However in current weeks, as a brand new wave of migration has taxed sources alongside the border and as Trump sought to regain management of the difficulty for his 2020 re-election marketing campaign, tensions flared anew.

The ultimate straw got here when Trump gave Nielsen no heads-up or alternative to debate his resolution to tug the nomination of performing Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ron Vitiello — a transfer seen as half of a bigger effort by Miller, an immigration hardliner, and his allies on the White Home to scrub home on the division and convey in additional individuals who share their views, the individuals mentioned.

WATCH: Tensions rising as Trump reiterates stand on border crossing





Nielsen had needed to debate the transfer with Trump throughout their go to to the border Friday, however when there was no time, she requested for the assembly Sunday. She walked into it ready to resign, relying on what she heard. The individuals described mounting frustrations on either side, with Trump exasperated on the state of affairs on the border and Nielsen pissed off by White Home actions she felt have been counterproductive.

Arrests alongside the southern border have skyrocketed just lately. Border brokers are on monitor to make 100,000 arrests and denials of entry on the southern border in March, greater than half of that are households with kids. A press convention to announce the newest border numbers — scheduled to be held by McAleenan on Monday — was postponed.


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Nielsen dutifully pushed Trump’s immigration insurance policies, together with funding for his border wall, and defended the administration’s apply of separating kids from dad and mom. She informed a Senate committee that eradicating kids from dad and mom dealing with felony expenses occurs “in the US on daily basis.” However she was additionally instrumental in ending the coverage.

Underneath Nielsen, migrants in search of asylum are ready in Mexico as their circumstances progress. She additionally moved to desert longstanding rules that dictate how lengthy kids are allowed to be held in immigration detention and requested mattress house from the U.S. army for 12,000 individuals in an effort to detain all households who cross the border. Proper now there’s house for about three,000 households, and amenities are at capability.

Nielsen additionally advocated for sturdy cybersecurity protection and mentioned she believed the following main terror assault would happen on-line — not by planes or bombs. She was tasked with serving to states safe elections following Russian interference in the course of the 2018 election.

She led the federal company since December 2017 and was this administration’s third Homeland Safety secretary. A protege of Kelly’s, he introduced her to the White Home after Trump named him chief of employees.

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