By Ariel Steinsaltz
After a meeting with President Donald Trump, Kirstjen Nielsen resigned from her position as the Secretary of Homeland Security, according to The New York Times.
Going into her meeting with the president, Nielsen hoped to make a plan to move forward with the situation of border security, which had long been a point of contention between her and the president. She came prepared with a list of ways to better the relationship with Trump, and thought in part that she could have a “reasoned conversation” with him, according to The New York Times.
In the weeks leading up to Nielsen’s resignation, the president had asked her to close entry ports at the border and stop allowing in those who were seeking asylum, of which Nielsen did not approve. During their meeting, the president wanted to ask for Nielsen’s resignation, which she ended up submitting afterward.
“‘I hope that the next secretary will have the support of Congress and the courts in fixing the laws which have impeded our ability to fully secure America’s borders and which have contributed to discord in our nation’s discourse,’” Nielsen said in her letter, according to The New York Times.
Speaking out on April 8, Nielsen called the situation at the border a “‘humanitarian crisis.’” She also made clear that she shares Trump’s goal of increasing border security, according to CBS News.
Before her resignation went into effect on April 10, the president announced that her replacement would be Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan. Her resignation is part of a large shift in staffing for the Department of Homeland Security, largely organized by White House advisor Stephen Miller, according to CBS News.
Nielsen had become known for supporting the “‘zero-tolerance’” policy enacted last year that took migrant children away from their parents as they crossed the border. Nielsen justified the policy by saying it was continued from prior administrations and done to keep children out of danger, according to CBS News.
The resignation came while the president is trying to appear tougher on immigration in preparation for the upcoming 2020 election.
The resignation also followed recently revealed pressure from the White House to immigration officials and the Department of Homeland Security instructing them to release detained immigrants in sanctuary cities in order to take action against the political enemies of the president, according to The Washington Post.
Despite her resignation not taking effect until April 10, Nielsen had left her Virginia home on April 8, where she expressed her gratitude to Trump before officially stepping down from her position.
“‘I just want to thank the president again for the tremendous opportunity to serve this country. I’m forever grateful and proud of the men and women of DHS who work so hard every day to execute their missions and support the homeland,’” she told reporters on April 8, CBS News reported.