Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen Resigns

Homeland Security Director Kirstjen Nielsen Resigns

"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", she wrote.

Nielsen has spearheaded the administration's efforts to crack down on illegal immigration, and joined President Trump in a visit to California to inspect the newly built sections of the U.S. -Mexico border fence over the weekend.

Ms Nielsen will be replaced, for the time being, by Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. "I have confidence that Kevin will do a great job", the president added.

Nielsen was scheduled to meet with the president at 5 p.m.in the White House residence about border security, but sources told ABC News that the meeting turned into a discussion about Nielsen's future.

The National Immigration Law Center, which has battled the administration's policies in court, said on Twitter Sunday: "Nielsen presided over a [DHS] that showed a blatant disregard for our Constitution, civil rights, and human life".

Ms Nielsen's resignation was seized upon by John Delaney, one of the Democratic candidates for the 2020 presidential nomination.

Images of sobbing children being taken from their parents a year ago fuelled a national outcry as condemnation poured in from the United Nations, human rights groups, and four former first ladies - all mothers - who called the policy "cruel" and "immoral".

She also has taken to social media in recent days, tweeting that Congress must give border and immigration officials the tools and resources needed to "fulfill our humanitarian and security mission". Nielsen was seen as Kelly's protegee.

Rumors of Nielsen's imminent resignation have swirled before, and Nielsen has remained in her post.

Trump nominated Nielsen for the secretary of Homeland Security position in October 2017, and the Senate confirmed the nomination two months later.

Trump has made a clampdown on illegal immigration a centerpiece of his two-year-old presidency, as he has sought to cut back on the number of newcomers, especially Mexicans and Central Americans, entering the United States without proper documentation. He recently threatened to close the border, or parts of it, if Congress did not change USA laws to fix what he called immigration "loopholes".

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

Nielsen's position had been rocky for some time.

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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