Trump Announces Resignation of US Homeland Security Secretary Nielsen

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

In a subsequent follow-up tweet, President Trump named U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan as Nielsen's replacement as acting secretary.

"Despite our progress in reforming homeland security for a new age, I have determined that it is the right time for to step aside", wrote Nielsen.

Ms. Nielsen was grilled in March by a U.S. House of Representatives committee on the border situation, and questioned repeatedly on whether the enclosures in which children were held were significantly different from dog cages.

Mr Trump has named current US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan as Acting Secretary. He said he had confidence that McAleenan "will do a great job!"

Two people familiar with the matter said Nielsen went to the White House to speak with Trump on Sunday following their trip to the border.

"I did not hear that word used", she told a congressional hearing.

Nielsen's relationship with the president had always been said to be hard. As they toured a section of newly rebuilt barriers, Nielsen was at Trump's side, introducing him to local officials.

Nielsen, who served in President George W. Bush's administration, never overcame internal skepticism about her allegiance to Trump.

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They felt that she had failed to protect the U.S. border and held her responsible for the sharp increase in migrants trying to enter the country from Latin America. Once Mr Kelly left the White House past year, Ms Nielsen's days appeared to be numbered.

President Trump and Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, D.C., on October 10, 2018.

The administration was forced to rescind the practice after massive public uproar, but Nielsen always maintained she did not oversee a family separation policy, but rather one of increased prosecution of migrant parents crossing the border illegally.

She said that she did "imagine that is the case".

But the government reported that at least 245 children were taken from their families between that time and the first months of 2019.

For many, Nielsen has been the public face of Trump's shameful immigration policies, including those created to separate children from their families at the southern border.

She rose through the Trump ranks quickly - joining the transition team after the election to help guide Kelly through the confirmation process.

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