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Senate Confirms Nielsen to Head Homeland Security

07 December, 2017, 01:28 | Author: Priscilla Morrison

The U.S. Senate confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of homeland security on a 62 to 37 vote Tuesday.

"Throughout her confirmation process, Ms. Nielsen failed to demonstrate that she would provide the steady, experienced leadership - free from political interference from the White House - that the department needs".

Nielsen will take over from Acting Secretary Elaine Duke who has been serving in the role since July when Kelly left to take over as White House chief of staff. During the George W. Bush administration, she served as special assistant to the president for homeland security and senior director for prevention, preparedness and response on the White House Homeland Security Council. "Ms. Nielsen is a homeland security expert with a deep understanding of the issues facing the Department and is well-positioned to lead us into the future". Nielsen was the second woman to head this ministry after Janet Napolitano, who was in office from 2009 to 2013. No Republicans opposed her nomination.

Although several Democrats voted to confirm Nielsen, some expressed concern over the 45-year-old's experience level.




After her confirmation, Breitbart News, the alt-right mouthpiece run by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, mocked her as "Lady DACA" - a reference to her assurance to Sen. She also criticized her reluctance during confirmation hearings to accept human behavior as a cause of global climate change and said Nielsen has "equivocated on protecting 'dreamers, ' " those brought to the country illegally as children and shielded from deportation under Obama.

When asked for her views on the utility of a border wall with Mexico, she echoed comments made previously by Kelly that the United States did not need a 2,000-mile physical barrier "from sea to shining sea".

We have not seen any report about Nielsen's views on the Trump administration's position on whether "Dreamers", as those who qualified for USA residency under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are often called, should be allowed to stay in the United States.

Homeland Security has been leading the charge on implementing Trump's aggressive immigration agenda, and Nielsen pledged to continue that work. However, Trump's recent statement indicates that instead of eliminating DACA, he merely wants to legitimize it by replacing Obama's executive orders with legislative authority. Ultimately, however, it is the president and Congress who must define what our national immigration policy must be.

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