The news that reviled Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is resigning from her position is good news given how disastrous and cruel her tenure has been, but it’s also a cause for concern due to reports that it was immigration hardliners like Stephen Miller who pushed her out and that as such she could be replaced with someone even worse.
As is often the case with a prominent departure, previously unrevealed stories about Nielsen’s time at DHS are now starting to emerge.
The New York Times reports President Trump would sometimes call Nielsen early in the morning and demand that she take immediate steps to block undocumented immigrants from entering the United States.
During the calls, he would even suggest that she take illegal actions to accomplish his goals, including preventing migrants from seeking asylum as they are legally entitled to do. Nielsen pushed back somewhat, by explaining that her hands were tied by numerous federal laws and other statutes, which in turn enraged Trump.
The story gives a peek into the deeply disturbed mind of Donald Trump. He’s obsessed with maintaining the support of his xenophobic followers, even if it means subjecting children to abuse or breaking the law.
The Times further reports that the growing conflict between Trump and Nielsen came to a head in the spring of 2018 when she proved reluctant to sign a memo ordering the now-infamous child separation policy that the president desired.
According to NBC News, the child separation issue is far from settled even now, as Trump has been urging his administration to resume the sadistic practice for months. Nielsen informed him that not only did federal courts block the policy, but Trump himself also signed an executive order ending family separations. Her continued resistance to reinstating the policy ended up further alienating her from the president.
Kevin McAleenan, the head of Customs and Border Control is set to take over as Acting DHS Secretary, and three government officials have told The New York Times that he has not ruled out bringing back family separation:
“The policy McAleenan would consider, according to the officials, is known as “binary choice” and would give migrant parents the option between being separated from their children or bringing their children with them into long term detention,” write Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Maggie Haberman, Michael D. Shear and Eric Schmitt for The Times.
….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!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 7, 2019
Regardless of how events proceed at DHS, one thing is clear. Kirstjen Nielsen is a disgrace to this nation and its most deeply held values. Her tenure will be remembered for its remarkable cruelty and history books will record her as the woman who locked innocent children in cages. It’s possible her successor could prove even more evil, but he certainly has his work cut out for him if he wants to obtain that ignominious distinction.