Trump seen leaning hard on new Homeland Security chief over border

Trump replaces homeland security chief

US President Donald Trump has announced Secretary of Homeland Security Kisrtjen Nielsen is leaving her position.

Nielsen's ouster is part of an emerging overhaul at the Department of Homeland Security. They chided reporters for focusing on the "palace intrigue" surrounding Nielsen's departure - but they struggled to describe, even in broad terms, just what Trump wants from his next DHS chief.

He added US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan would become acting secretary.

White House officials said Trump wanted someone at DHS who would focus on the border as the top priority.

According to NBC, sources say Nielsen told Trump that federal court orders prohibited the Department of Homeland Security from reinstating the policy, and that he would be reversing his own executive order from June, which ended separations.

The number of migrants arrested at the border has risen in recent months.

Under Nielsen, migrants seeking asylum are waiting in Mexico as their cases progress. "We know that he's going to be our acting secretary for the meantime". In a separate story, CNN reported that Miller "played key a role in Nielsen's ouster", and his "heightened influence within the West Wing has been aided by the president, who recently told aides in an Oval Office meeting that Miller was in charge of all immigration and border related issues in the White House, according to a person familiar with the meeting". He takes over as USA border officials estimated that 100,000 migrants were apprehended at the southern border in March, the highest level in a decade. Vitiello, a Border Patrol guard, had been awaiting confirmation by the Senate. Under U.S. law, foreign nationals are allowed to apply for asylum.

But McAleenan has spoken publicly about the need for USA aid dollars to countries such as Hondorus, El Salvador and Guatemala - from where many recent undocumented migrants originate. Nielsen, 46, oversaw this "zero-tolerance" policy on illegal immigration. "With McAleenan's appointment, Trump now has an acting homeland security secretary, defense secretary, interior secretary and chief of staff", notes Axios.

Images of sobbing children being taken from their parents past year fuelled a national outcry that saw Democrats demand she resign, as condemnation poured in from the United Nations, human rights groups, and four former first ladies - all mothers - who called the policy "cruel" and "immoral".

"I've had conversations with Republican colleagues over the a year ago or so who swear that she was reluctant to impose some of President Trump's most egregious policies. And it, frankly, has to raise the question for anyone who's offered a Cabinet opportunity [from] President Trump, whether their reputation will survive".

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