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Trump berates DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen over border security

12 May 2018, 02:21 | Myrtle Vega

Homeland Security Chief Was Close To Resigning After Trump Tirade

Donald Trump and DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen

"We are a nation of legislation and the president and his government may apply them" White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said in an announcement on Thursday. A witness stated Trump targeted her in the midst of a rant about the lack of border progress.

Trump reportedly railed against Nielsen on Wednesday, saying that she failed to adequately secure the USA border. According to the Times, the president had viewed Nielsen and other D.H.S. officials as resistant to the family-separation policy, but the West Wing ultimately won out.

Nielsen "is hard at work today on the President's security-focused agenda and supporting the men and women of @DHSgov", he added.

Trump's anger was not only directed towards Nielsen, who he believed was the leading authority in stopping illegal immigration, according to The Times.

Trump, she told the Times, is "rightly frustrated that existing loopholes and the lack of congressional action have prevented this administration from fully securing the border". Nielsen issued a statement Thursday night, but it does not directly address the report or that she came close to resigning. "I share his frustration".

The exchange was so hostile, according to The New York Times, that Nielsen later informed colleagues that she planned to leave the administration and drafted a resignation letter, though she did not submit it.

A Department of Homeland Security spokesman denied specific details of the report, including that she had already drafted a resignation letter, and that she was close to resigning.

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"I have instructed the Secretary of Homeland Security not to let these large Caravans of people into our Country", Trump wrote last month.

The White House did not immediately respond to Newsweek's request for comment.

Donald Trump had grown angry in recent weeks for reports of a roughly 1,200-person "caravan" of asylum-seekers from Central America traveling toward the US border. During his first year in office, he had regularly extolled the continued decline in border crossings, which had fallen to the lowest level in decades.

Trump has also been frustrated with Congress's refusal to fully fund his promised border wall along the nation's southern border, and some in the administration had accused DHS leaders of slow-walking more aggressive efforts to separate children from their parents at the border.

During a rally in Elkhart, Indiana, Thursday evening, Trump complained, "We have the worst immigration laws in the history of mankind". But this year, they have risen again.

A caravan of Central American migrants traveling through Mexico seized the president's attention this spring, and in the weeks that followed he frequently asked Homeland Security for updates, administration officials said.

Just to be clear, Nielsen and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under her direction haven't shown any hesitation about separating families.



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