Monday, April 8, 2019

DHS Secretary responsible for children in cages resigns. Trump promises 'tougher direction.'

538’s significant digits email reports on what Trump and his administration, via now former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, did to migrant families.

2 years
The Trump administration is asking for up to two years to locate what could be thousands of children who were separated from their families at the border. The Justice Department said that it would take “at least a year” to review some 47,000 cases of unaccompanied children taken into government custody in 2017 and 2018. [Associated Press]

The Editorial Board of the NY Times reacts to the resignation sacking: Kirstjen Nielsen Enforced Cruelty at the Border. Her Replacement Could Be Worse. She will be remembered for the forced separation of thousands of migrant families. Concluding snippets follow.

… Whatever the secretary’s personal views, and no matter how impossible her job, she was the face of some of the administration’s most poorly conceived and gratuitously callous policies. At best, she was complicit and, yes, hopelessly weak.

Sadly, Ms. Nielsen’s response to her boss’s displeasure and abuse was both morally anemic and strategically incoherent. Last summer, as Republicans and Democrats — and many in the American public — protested the administration’s practice of tearing migrant children from their parents at the border, Ms. Nielsen rushed to publicly defend the policy. Scratch that. She insisted, repeatedly and bizarrely, that the administration had no such policy, even as her agency was enforcing and justifying it.

“We do not have a policy of separating families at the border,” she said on Twitter last June. “Period.” She repeated as much to Congress as recently as March.

Ms. Nielsen’s departure is seen by some as part of a broader restructuring of her department. Just two days before meeting with the secretary, the president withdrew his nomination for the next head of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency, saying that he wanted to go in a “tougher direction.” Presumably he plans to chart a similar course with Ms. Nielsen’s successor.

For now, Ms. Nielsen’s acting replacement will be Kevin McAleenan, the commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. This leaves Homeland Security without a top official at either of its critical immigration agencies. It comes as the swell of migrant families across the border pushes the system toward collapse.

Within this leadership vacuum, it seems likely that more influence will be exerted by Mr. [Stephen] Miller, who inspires and reinforces Mr. Trump’s harshest ideas on immigrants and immigration.

The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, said of Ms. Nielsen’s departure, “It is deeply alarming that the Trump administration official who put children in cages is reportedly resigning because she is not extreme enough for the White House’s liking.”

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