08 April 2019
Washington: Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security who has become a face of President Donald Trump's hardline immigration push, is leaving the administration, US President Donald Trump announced on Sunday afternoon.
"Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service," Trump wrote on Twitter.
"I am pleased to announce that Kevin McAleenan, the current US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary for @DHSgov. I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job!" Trump continued.
Nielsen did not resign willingly, a person close to her told CNN, but was under pressure to do so. Nielsen did not fight nor grovel to keep her job, the source said.
McAleenan is a holdover from the Obama administration. He was sworn in on March 20, 2018, as commissioner of US Customs and Border Protection, He is expected to serve as the acting secretary "in the short term," meaning he is not expected to be in the position for the long term, according to a White House official.
Senior administration officials told CNN that Nielsen had a 5 p.m., meeting at the White House with Trump where she was planning to discuss with him the immigration and border issues and a path forward. She had no intention of resigning, according to one of the sources, but rather was going there with an agenda.
Trump had grown increasingly frustrated with the situation at the border, which has seen an influx in migrants, predominantly from Northern Triangle countries, CNN reported.
In California on Friday, a senior administration official said, Trump told border agents he wanted them to stop letting people cross the border, despite the fact that Central American asylum seekers according to US law can do so.
Nielsen "believed the situation was becoming untenable with the President becoming increasingly unhinged about the border crisis and making unreasonable and even impossible requests," a senior administration official was quoted as saying by CNN.
"I hereby resign from the position of Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS), effective April 7th 2018 (sic)," Nielsen wrote in her resignation letter. "Despite our progress in reforming homeland security for a new age, I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside."
In a series of tweets, Nielsen said, "it has been an honour of a lifetime to serve with the brave men and women" of DHS and repeated what she also said in her resignation letter that she "could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service."
Nielsen has felt "in limbo" for the last week, a person close to her says, as she bore the brunt of the President's anger over the border.