Trump’s Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen Is Out

We’ll be talking about what we she did for decades.

Sec. Nielsen

Ron Sachs/CNP via ZUMA Wire

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Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is officially out of a job as of Sunday afternoon, after a tumultuous 16-month tenure that made her a public face of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdown. Nielsen’s resignation came just days after President Donald Trump withdrew the nomination of Ronald Vitiello to lead the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency—a move that Nielsen was reportedly blindsided by.

Trump confirmed the news in a tweet Sunday evening, revealing that the current head of Customs and Border Protection, Kevin McAleenan, will now serve as acting DHS secretary: 

Nielsen’s tenure will be remembered above all for the family separation policy, an outgrowth of then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ policy of “zero tolerance” on prosecuting people who come across the border. When the effects of the policy began to ripple through the press—the New York Times reported in April 2017 that more than 700 kids had been separated from their parents, with more than 100 younger than four—Nielsen at first denied that any such family-separation policy existed:

But subsequent reporting found that family separation was not simply a side-effect, but a deliberate decision—separating small children from parents, the administration hoped, would discourage families from coming across. Not only did Nielsen’s team make it a policy priority to separate children from parents, their actions put those children in horrific conditions, and they failed to keep track of the families they separated, making it difficult to reunite parents and children later on.

“Under the present system, migrant children are not accounted for with the same efficiency and accuracy as property,” a federal judge in San Diego wrote last year, in a decision that put Nielsen’s policy on hold.

On Friday, the administration said it may take up to two years to identify all the families separated under the policy.

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LESS DREADING, MORE DOING

This is the rubber-meets-road moment: the early days in our first fundraising drive since we took a big swing and merged with CIR to bring fearless investigative reporting to the internet, radio, video, and everywhere else that people need an antidote to lies and propaganda.

Donations have started slow, and we hope that explaining, level-headedly, why your support really is everything for our reporting will make a difference. Learn more in “Less Dreading, More Doing,” or in this 2:28 video about our merger (that literally just won an award), and please pitch in if you can right now.

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