WASHINGTON — Last week’s resignation by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was prompted in large part by her refusal to enforce president Donald Trump’s policy of separating illegal immigrant families at the border, says an NBC report.
“I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside,” Nielsen wrote in a resignation letter to Trump, according to a report published by The New York Times. “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.”
White House insiders say the president’s no-nonsense approach to illegal immigration was just too tough for Nielsen to abide by. Her resignation comes just days after Trump rallied against the crisis at the border, demanding that Mexico “to their part” in curbing the influx of illegals crossing the southern U.S. border.
Undeterred, President Trump confirmed Nielsen’s resignation on Sunday, announcing that Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan will take over as Acting Secretary.
“Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service,” Trump tweeted on Sunday. “I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for @DHSgov. I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!”
A senior administration official told NBC the president feels strongly that family separation has been the most effective policy at deterring illegal immigration.
Democrats have often called out this policy as “racist” and declared enforcement of such policy as “unconstitutional.”
“Hampered by misstep after misstep, Kirstjen Nielsen’s tenure at the Department of Homeland Security was a disaster from the start,” Rep. Bennie G. Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, said in a statement.
“It is clearer now than ever that the Trump administration’s border security and immigration policies — that she enacted and helped craft — have been an abysmal failure and have helped create the humanitarian crisis at the border.”
President Trump campaigned heavily on promises of securing the nation’s borders during his 2016 presidential campaign. The issue will remain a large part of his efforts at re-election in 2020.