Former Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security McDaniels speaks on Kirstjen Nielsen

from WMU-Cooley Law School with notes by Cynthia Price

Kirstjen Nielsen, the Secretary of the United States Department of Homeland Security, resigned on April 7, tweeting,  “This afternoon I submitted my resignation to @POTUS and thanked him for the opportunity to serve in his administration. It's been an honor of a lifetime to serve with the brave men and women of @DHSgov. I could not be prouder of and more humbled by their service, dedication, and commitment to keep our country safe from all threats and hazards.”

The resignation comes as the Trump Administration has announced that it is pursuing an increasingly  tough policy on the Mexican border, follows conflict between Nielsen and the president for virtually the entire time of her tenure (since December 2017), and comes amid speculation that it was in part due to increased administration demands for renewing the separation of children from their parents if the families were accused of crossing over the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

The separation policy, which Nielsen defended as the law of the land and stated, “The Department of Homeland Security is not going to ignore the law any longer,” caused a great deal of criticism from both political parties and the American public. Much of this criticism fell on Nielsen.

Kevin McAleenan, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner, will become Acting Secretary.

About Nielsen’s resignation, former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security and retired Brigadier General Michael C.H. McDaniel, who is currently an associate dean and professor of law at Western Michigan University Cooley Law School, made the following statement:

“I am not surprised of Secretary Nielsen’s departure as Secretary of Homeland Security.

“I am disappointed by the departure of my former colleague Secretary Nielsen, but I have been disappointed by the administration’s focus on border issues to the exclusion of all the other homeland security issues. Many of these policies go against our nation’s long-standing laws and traditions, and even test the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

“With much of Homeland Security’s public focus on immigration issues, I believe many of our leaders have not given proper focus to counter-terrorism, and cybersecurity concerns.

“It appears with the appointment of Kevin McAleenan, to fill the role of acting secretary, this administration’s focus on high level security on all fronts will continue to take a back seat to the issue of immigration at our southern borders.”