Trump to Replace Kevin McAleenan at Department of Homeland Security

Clay Curtis
October 12, 2019

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is leaving his post, the latest casualty at the department responsible for protecting USA borders.

President Donald Trump tweeted out McAleenan's departure on Friday evening, commending the DHS official for bringing US-Mexico border crossings "way down", before attributing his departure to the classic political excuse that he "wants to spend more time with his family".

As Peter Baker of the New York Times notes, McAleenan's resignation means that his replacement will be President Trump's "fourth homeland security secretary in less than three years". He added that there were "many wonderful candidates".

McAleenan had been frustrated with a cadre of Trump's appointments to senior immigration roles and recently told The Washington Post that he was struggling to control his department.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

Mr Trump has not named anyone to fill the job yet - the acting deputy is David Pekoske, the head of the Transportation Security Administration.

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"Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job as Acting Secretary of Homeland Security".

President Trump, who has made cracking down on legal and illegal immigration a signature issue of his presidency and 2020 re-election effort, said he and Mr. McAleenan had "worked well together with Border Crossings being way down". But he said McAleenan remains a poor fit to lead DHS.

McAleenan is also proud of having pushed DHS to declare unequivocally that white supremacists pose a growing threat to the American people, a statement the White House previously refused to make in as stark a way, the source close to the acting secretary said. "The President's threat of tariffs on Mexico provided McAleenan with more opportunity to engage with an historically intractable partner on border security, resulting in a precipitous decline in apprehensions along the southern border".

Migrants arrested at the border fell to just over 52,000 in September, the final month of the 2019 fiscal year, down from more than 144,000 in May and the lowest monthly figure in one year.

Since April, former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, U.S. Secret Service Director Randolph "Tex" Alles and acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Ronald Vitiello have resigned.

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