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Kirstjen Nielsen leaving as immigration numbers surge

Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen is leaving her cabinet post this week. As the primary face of President Trump’s policy regarding immigration issues, Nielsen was responsible for what has happened at the southern border since her appointment in December of 2017. Such low lights include the separation of migrant children from their family.

Despite her attempts to enforce the president’s agenda, the impact has not had the expected results. This is shown by multiple lawsuits by human rights organizations and immigration lawyers. Moreover, the president blamed her for the ineffectiveness of these policies as well as his inability to get Congress to fund his long-promised wall.

Some would say it was an impossible job, and her replacement will likely find the job no easier, nor have greater success. The New York Times recently pointed out that Nielsen’s approach was “insufficiently brutal” for the president, who is said to be restructuring the Department of Homeland Security by also finding a new candidate for Customs and Border Protection to go in a more aggressive direction to stop the waves of migrants. This leaves the two top jobs at the DHS open at this pivotal time when so many migration issues have hit a breaking point.

What happens next?

Nielsen will be replaced at least temporarily by Kevin McAleenan, who is the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection. McAleenan oversaw the terrible plans to and subsequent poor record keeping that left the children separated from their families to be lost within the bureaucracy while parents were incarcerated or sent back to their country of origin.

McAleenan nor the next choice for the Department of Homeland Security will likely be an improvement in protecting the rights of migrants who try to enter the country. This means that it will be more important than ever to work with immigration law attorneys who have experience working with migrants here in California.

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  • American Immigration Lawyers Association
  • State Bar of California | California Board of Legal Specialization
  • Avvo
  • Orange County Bar Association
  • Irvine Chamber