‘It was long past time for her to go…’
(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen made it through the November midterm unscathed after speculation had swirled that she would be among several Cabinet-level officials needing to be replaced.
But while the whims of CEO-in-Chief Donald Trump may have contributed to Nielsen’s undoing following a 16-month tenure, it was the onslaught of women and children at the southern border that sealed it.
Trump announced Nielsen’s departure via Twitter over the weekend, elevating Customs and Border Patrol Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to the DHS secretary spot.
It was not immediately clear what the direct circumstances were for Nielsen’s exit—although some sources pointed to a possible behind-the-scenes “showdown” on Sunday between Nielsen and the president.
Trump had been critical and undermining of Nielsen in the past, intimating during a Fox News interview last November that replacing her was not entirely off the table.
“I like her very much, I respect her very much,” he said, but “I would like her to be much tougher on the border. Much tougher.”
The announcement came shortly after a trip the president made to survey the wall progress at Calexico, California last week.
During the visit, Trump called on migrants to “turn around” and said the U.S. no longer had room to accommodate them, while also backpedaling on an earlier threat to close the border.
Democrats in Congress were quick to snipe at both Nielsen and Trump in an effort to score political points while continuing to deny any sort of legitimate immigration crisis at the border.
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., welcomed the departure and said it was past overdue.
Kirstjen Nielsen misled the American people and defended Trump’s inhumane policy of separating children from their parents.
It was long past time for her to go. https://t.co/3KXTHKZTRd
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) April 7, 2019
Others also harped on Nielsen’s role in separating children and parents—a move that was intended to close the “catch-and-release” loophole created by the Flores settlement whereby minors may only be detained for a defined period of 20 days.
That means parents—whether legal or illegal—who are accompanying them may also be released into the U.S.
About time. @SecNielsen’s legacy of tearing innocent families apart will follow her for the rest of her life—and she should be ashamed of the role she played. She was completely unqualified to lead @DHS—and that’s why I voted against confirming her. https://t.co/17iglABdvC
— Elizabeth Warren (@ewarren) April 7, 2019
It also seemed unlikely that the next nominee would win the support of Sen. Mazie Hirono, D-Hawaii.
The bigoted misandrist—who previously attacked Nielsen and Press Secretary Sarah Sanders for having “sold their souls” in working for Trump—made clear, even before the president had furnished any names, that she considered every appointment of his to be a dud.
Sadly, we can expect @realDonaldTrump to nominate a permanent replacement who will also do his bidding as DHS Secretary. We must continue to speak out and remain organized and vigilant.
— Senator Mazie Hirono (@maziehirono) April 7, 2019
And while no longer politically relevant, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pounced on the opportunity to weigh in.
Let’s be clear: This administration’s dehumanization and cruelty toward migrants will not stop after Kirstjen Nielsen leaves office. It is their principal policy.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) April 8, 2019
However, Clinton’s response invited ample calls over her duplicity. While serving as a U.S. senator, she previously voted in favor of policies very similar to Trump’s, such as funding for a physical barrier at the border.
Some on the right also celebrated Nielsen’s leaving—notably former Milwaukee Sheriff David Clark and Ann Coulter, a frequent Trump critic, who celebrated the news in a series of tweets while criticizing Nielsen and Trump for failing to build the long-promised border wall.
Exactly! Why didn’t she build a wall? Oh that’s right. She’s not the president. https://t.co/FnWraMS1Ha
— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) April 7, 2019
But others were more prepared to offer empathy to Nielsen for the untenable situation she faced.
Last week, Jeh Johnson, the Obama-era DHS secretary, put the current crisis into perspective on MSNBC’s liberal “Morning Joe.”
“On Tuesday, there were 4,000 apprehensions,” he said. “I know that a thousand overwhelms the system. I cannot begin to imagine what 4,000 a day looks like, so we are truly in a crisis.”
Nielsen’s effective management drew praise from some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee, who worked closely with Nielsen.
— Shelley Moore Capito (@SenCapito) April 7, 2019
Nielsen had been one of the most vocal critics of the political games whereby open-borders advocates have encouraged vulnerable refugees to storm the country en masse and take advantage of the existing legislative loopholes.
For the migrants themselves, this can lead to scenarios including health epidemics, rape, assault, or even being sold into slavery by coyotes and drug cartels along the perilous journey.
Even so, groups like Pueblo Sin Fronteras have pressed onward, organizing caravans of migrants for the express purpose of overwhelming border authorities, and then coaching them to falsely claim asylum to delay the deportation process.
Tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have been released in recent months due to the lack of adequate space in detention centers while processing the cases.
After Mexican officials announced last week that the “mother of all caravans” was beginning to form in Central America, Trump cut off funding to three of the worst-offending countries and also threatened to close down the entire border.
He later reversed on the border closure but warned Mexico that he might impose a tariff if it failed to address the illegal immigration problem.