President Trump tweeted this evening that Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is out at the Department of Homeland Security and Customs and Border Protection Commission Kevin McAleenan will be moving into the acting role leading DHS.
“Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service,” Trump tweeted.
“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!” he added.
CBS News reported one unnamed official as stating that McAleenan, who was confimed to lead CBP in March 2018, was unlikely to be nominated to take the reins permanently at DHS.
Nielsen, who replaced former DHS Secretary John Kelly in December 2017, had a 5 p.m. meeting with Trump at the White House. CNN reported that she did not intend to resign in the meeting, intended to focus on immigration and border issues, but “was going there with an agenda” and had a resignation letter prepared. Trump was reportedly frustrated that immigration officials have been allowing Central American migrants to seek asylum, per current law.
Nielsen was not planning to resign when she walked into her meeting with Trump today, but she was prepared for the possibility. Here is her resignation letter, per a source close to Nielsen: pic.twitter.com/ElyTiwbYuR
— Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) April 7, 2019
“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,” the Nielsen letter says in part.
This afternoon I submitted my resignation to @POTUS and thanked him for the opportunity to serve in his administration.
— Sec. Kirstjen Nielsen (@SecNielsen) April 7, 2019
Two days ago Trump suddenly withdrew his nomination of Ron Vitiello to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a move that reportedly was prompted by Trump senior advisor and immigration hardliner Stephen Miller.
“We’re going in a little different direction. Ron’s a good man,” Trump told reporters Friday. “But we’re going in a tougher direction. We want to go in a tougher direction.”
The Associated Press reported Saturday that Miller is also “eyeing the removal” of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Lee Francis Cissna. The White House did not comment.
In recent Oval meeting, Trump told aides that Stephen Miller was in charge of all immigration initiatives. Miller is often critical of Nielsen, questioning whether she is tough enough to the president. Miller was behind ouster of ICE director pick. https://t.co/pWuUjlmJAi
— Josh Dawsey (@jdawsey1) April 7, 2019