WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who turned finest identified for defending President Donald Trump’s coverage of separating migrant kids from their mother and father, mentioned on Sunday she was leaving her place efficient instantly.
Nielsen’s departure was first reported by CBS News. A senior administration official mentioned Trump requested for Nielsen’s resignation and she or he gave it.
Trump mentioned on Twitter: “Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service.”
In one other tweet, Trump mentioned Kevin McAleenan, the present U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner, would develop into appearing DHS secretary.
Nielsen, 46, had been DHS secretary since December 2017. Her time overseeing the sprawling division included battle with Trump and overseeing a coverage of separating kids from their immigrant mother and father on the border with Mexico.
Trump has made a clampdown on unlawful immigration a centerpiece of his two-year-old presidency, as he has sought to chop again on the variety of newcomers, particularly Mexicans and Central Americans, getting into the United States with out correct documentation.
Nielsen’s departure was introduced two days after the Republican president abruptly mentioned on Friday he was dumping his personal nominee to be the highest officers at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ronald Vitiello, saying he needed somebody “tougher.”
ICE is beneath the jurisdiction of DHS.
Repeatedly subjected to powerful questioning by Democrats at congressional hearings, Nielsen turned a lightning rod for criticism of Trump’s insurance policies. She was confronted by protesters final 12 months at a Mexican restaurant in Washington.
As chief of DHS, Nielsen was answerable for finishing up a few of Trump efforts corresponding to his battle to construct a wall on the border with Mexico, stepped-up deportations and therapy of migrant kids, as pictures of youngsters being held in cages have been unfold around the globe.
Trump insists that the arrival of immigrants throughout the southern U.S. border constitutes a nationwide emergency so essential that he sidestepped Congress’ refusal to supply him with a number of billion he requested to construct the border wall.
Representative Bennie Thompson, the Democratic chairman of the House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee, mentioned Nielsen’s tenure at DHS “was a disaster from the start.”
He mentioned in an announcement, nevertheless, that she mustn’t function a scapegoat, blasting Trump for “terrible and cruel policies.” Noting that the division now has neither a everlasting secretary nor deputy secretary, he referred to as on the administration to work with Congress in good religion to maintain the nation protected.
The Trump administration adopted the coverage of separating migrant kids from their mother and father early final 12 months as a part of its “zero tolerance” method to unlawful immigration, supposed to discourage households from leaving house within the hope of getting into the United States.
After home and worldwide criticism, Trump signed an govt order in June ending household separations, however a authorities report final month confirmed that greater than 200 kids had been taken from their households since that point.
Trump lately threatened to shut the border with Mexico, or components of it, if Congress didn’t change U.S. legal guidelines to repair what he referred to as immigration “loopholes.”
Nielsen’s departure has been rumored repeatedly. News stories mentioned Trump had belittled her in Cabinet conferences, sad together with her efforts to tighten immigration.
The New York Times reported almost a 12 months in the past, in May 2018, that Nielsen was near resigning after Trump berated her in entrance of different Cabinet secretaries over will increase within the variety of immigrants crossing illegally from Mexico.
Before she was nominated as secretary, Nielsen labored as a deputy to former Marine General John Kelly, who headed DHS earlier than changing into White House chief of workers.
Kelly resigned as chief of workers on Jan. 2 amid stories of a strained relationship with Trump.
Reporting by Diane Bartz and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney and Sonya Hepinstall
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