The US Senate Approved Kirstjen Nielsen as Secretary of Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Trump nominee and White House deputy chief of staff Kirstjen Nielsen to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Nielsen's appointment comes after President Donald Trump nominated her to replace former boss John Kelly, who moved to become Trump's chief of staff.

Nielsen will oversee a federal agency that runs with approximately 240,000 employees, $40 billion in discretionary budget and 22 sub-agencies that include the Coast Guard, immigration enforcement, disaster preparedness and response, transportation security and the Secret Service.

Kelly left the Department of Homeland Security for the White House in late July during a shakeup that included the resignation of the former chief of staff, Reince Priebus. It is hard to imagine how the head of one of our federal government's executive departments, who all report to the president, can ever be "free from political interference from the White House".

Nielsen "is ready to answer this call to duty", Johnson said.

And in a statement released after the Senate confirmed Nielsen, Sen.

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Nielsen breezed through her confirmation hearing last month before members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, assuring lawmakers that she would not obey an unlawful order from the White House.

Nielsen, who served on former President George W. Bush's homeland security council, also appears to be facing opposition from the far-right nationalist wing of the Republican party. 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.

On other topics, Nielsen said she agreed with Kelly that a U.S. -Mexico border wall is unlikely to be a physical barrier from "sea to shining sea". However, this will be a major issue for the new DHS secretary to address.

Nielsen, Kelly's protégé, now takes over the DHS as Trump looks to make his long-promised border wall a reality and to continue cracking down on immigration. However, Dougherty's statement on October 3 indicated that the administration's termination of DACA was not as thorough as most people were led to believe.

Tasked with the Sisyphean task of containing Trump, Kelly has for months been weeding out White House officials tied to his predecessor. Original DACA recipients were unaffected, and individuals who had received three year validity periods for DACA and the associated work authorization under the November 2014 memorandum prior to the district court injunction were allowed to maintain those approvals through their expiration, unless terminated or revoked for case specific reasons. Ultimately, however, it is the president and Congress who must define what our national immigration policy must be.

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