Kirstjen Nielsen, the secretary of Homeland Security, resigned on April 7 after a meeting with President Trump.
“I have determined that it is the right time for me to step aside,” Nielsen said in a 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.”
According to CNN, Nielsen did not resign willingly and was under pressure to do so. Senior administration officials said that Nielsen had a 5 p.m. meeting at the White House with Trump where she was planning to discuss the immigration and border issues and a path forward.
Nielsen’s resignation comes after constant demands from the president that she take action to stop migrants from entering the country, including illegal actions, such as blocking all migrants from seeking asylum and cutting off foreign aid to Central American countries even though the funding was the responsibility of the State Department.
President Trump announced the former secretary’s exit on Twitter. “Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service,” Trump tweeted.
The president chose U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan to replace Nielsen as acting secretary of Homeland Security. “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!” he announced on Twitter.
Installing McAleenan as secretary would have skipped over acting Deputy Secretary Claire Grady, who also serves in the Senate confirmed role as the Undersecretary of Management. However, Grady resigned two days after Nielsen. According to CNN, Homeland Security officials said she was forced to either resign or be fired.