If Homeland Security needs help, it should be forthcoming

Kirstjen Nielsen and Donald Trump

You know the state of things in Washington is grim when Kirstjen Nielsen, the Department of Homeland Security secretary who oversaw family separation at the U.S./Mexico border, is, according to the Trump administration, not "tough" enough on immigration. "With McAleenan's appointment, Trump now has an acting homeland security secretary, defense secretary, interior secretary and chief of staff", notes Axios.

Last summer the administration had separated more than 2,500 children from their families before global outrage forced Trump to halt the practice and a judge ordered them reunited.

Trump tweeted that Nielsen "will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service". But the episode launched a turbulent 12-day stretch that would lead to the eventual resignation of Nielsen, the potential dismissal of much of her agency's top leadership and the beginning of a new phase in which immigration hard-liners at the White House are determined to wield considerably more influence over Homeland Security. Both Nielsen and Alles were closely associated with former White House chief of staff John Kelly, who resigned a year ago after falling out of favor with Trump. The officials' departures are part of a system-wide purge of senior management at DHS as top Trump adviser Stephen Miller looks to overhaul immigration-related policy and personnel.

Just over 53,000 of the people apprehended were parents and children traveling together, which the Border Patrol refers to as "family units". Replacing Cabinet secretaries has become a feature, not a bug, of this White House. Grassley (R-Iowa) said he was "very, very concerned" regarding reports that Cissna could be next in a series of rapid-fire DHS dismissals that began late last week when the White House suddenly pulled the nomination of Ronald Vitiello, who had been tapped as director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Neither Nielsen nor Trump, however, have publicly acknowledged that the administration's policies may in fact be contributing to the increased number of border-crossers in recent months, as Dree K. Collopy, chair of the National Asylum and Refugee Liaison Committee of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, suggested in January. "Very happy with them", Trump said. Presumably, President Trump was relying upon the FVRA in naming McAleenan as acting secretary.

"Her letter said "effective April 7"-yesterday". That Nielsen herself is gone now is maybe of little solace to the families still waiting to see their children again, but at least somebody is now feeling defeated within that administration... we can only hope.

"There has been deliberate foot-dragging and I think that's why you're seeing the White House take the necessary steps to clean house at DHS and put people in, hopefully, who will quickly execute what the president orders", he said.

And she took ownership of the separation of families at the border.

"I will continue to support all efforts to address the humanitarian and security crisis on the border", Nielsen said in her first public remarks since her resignation.

But there's no doubt that the president is exasperated with the flood of immigrants at the border, tweeting on Monday: "Country is full!"

The personnel changes could further destabilize the USA domestic security agency as it tries to stem rising numbers of immigrants arriving at the border, many of them families fleeing violence and poverty in Central America.

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