Kirstjen Nielsen stepped down as chief of the Department of Homeland Security on Sunday as the ongoing border crisis continues to worsen. Kevin McAleenan, who currently heads Customs and Border Protection, will take over in the interim.
Pres. Trump asked for Nielsen's resignation after the two met on Sunday to discuss the border surge. According to the New York Times, both the President and his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, had grown frustrated with Nielsen's inability to slow the surge. Nielsen had also disagreed with the President's desire to close the border and to stop accepting asylum claims, as well as his decision late last week to withdraw the nomination of Ronald Vitiello for the top spot at Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
"I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside," Ms. Nielsen wrote in her resignation letter. "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 border situation has continued to worsen on Nielsen's watch. The number of apprehensions of illegal border crossers by Border Patrol officers has consistently increased after hitting a low of 15,000 in April 2017. Border Patrol officers expect the number of apprehensions to exceed 100,00 in March once final numbers are made public.
The number of family units apprehended after crossing the border illegally has also hit record-levels; the number apprehended over the first five months of FY2019 has already exceeded the total number apprehended in any other full year since DHS started recording the statistic.
For more on this story, see the New York Times.
Updated: Mon, Apr 22nd 2019 @ 3:05pm EDT