Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of Homeland Security under President Donald Trump, who has also become the face of the immigration crisis at America's southern border over the last few months, is leaving her position effective immediately, according to a tweet Trump himself sent not even an hour ago.
Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen talks outside her home in Alexandria, Va., on Monday, April 8, 2019. During her time as Homeland Security secretary, she oversaw widely condemned policies including the forcible separation of families and the caging of children at the southern border.
U.S. media reports said the resignation came after Nielsen informed Trump that several measures he suggested to stem growing Central American immigration across America's southern border would violate federal and global law.
MSNBC's Ari Melber ripped White House advisor Stephen Miller ("Donald Trump's Donald Trump") tonight over the harsh immigration policy he has pushed for during his tenure in the Trump administration. Nielsen's name will be added to the long list of those who have shuttled in and out of cabinet posts in the last two years.
"I could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service, dedication, and commitment to keep our country safe from all threats and hazards", she said.
Krikorian described a turf war between ICE and Border Patrol, and questioned whether McAleenan will be nominated to permanently lead the department.
"It's time to do things a little differently", White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said on Fox News Channel. McAleenan is a longtime border official who is well respected by many members of Congress and within the administration.
Nielsen did "not resign willingly", according to several reports, though she recognized her job was "in limbo" for weeks.
It is unclear why Alles was asked to step aside but the White House told reporters it didn't have any relation to the recent security breach at Mar-a-Lago.
The department's acting No. 2 official, Claire Grady, could leave as soon as Tuesday afternoon, the source said.
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"I'm just not sure that it's something a different DHS secretary can do, rather than the White House making the decision", he said.
Nielsen's resignation comes less than a year and a half after she replaced John Kelly.
Trump has made a clampdown on illegal immigration a centrepiece of his two-year-old presidency, leading chants of "Build that wall" at his rallies as he has sought to cut back on the number of newcomers entering the United States without proper documentation.
For Trump and his closest aides - particularly Miller - the tough rhetoric is a red-meat handout to a base they see as critical to winning the White House again in 2020.
"I think it would be hard for him to demonstrate he's accomplished anything for the president", Grassley said.
But there's no doubt that the president is exasperated with the flood of immigrants at the border, tweeting on Monday: "Country is full!"
Trump declared that he was "the one that stopped it" and said his predecessor, President Barack Obama, was the one who had separated children from their families.
Officials recently said it could take two years to identify potentially thousands of children and parents separated at the border.
The personnel changes could further destabilise 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, that swelled last month to the highest in a decade.