Trump nominates Kirstjen Nielsen as DHS secretary

Trump nominates Kirstjen Nielsen as DHS secretary

Nielsen served as DHS chief of staff to former Secretary John Kelly until he was moved to the White House in July to be President Trump's chief of staff, and she followed him there as his principal deputy chief of staff.

The White House confirmed earlier reports by The Washington Post and Politico that Nielsen was next in line for the position.

In elevating Ms. Nielsen, Mr. Trump is installing a policy expert with deep experience in the Department of Homeland Security's mission, including immigration enforcement, disaster response and cybersecurity.

Nielsen, the deputy White House chief of staff, was a top aide to Kelly when he led the department and moved with him to the White House when he became chief of staff. But he would also remove from his White House a person who brought a regimented style to a freewheeling and often dysfunctional West Wing, much to the chagrin of some senior officials and people close to the president who chafed under her dictates.

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If confirmed by the Senate, Nielsen would take the reins at a sprawling department with more than 240,000 employees that is responsible for US border and airport security, immigration policy, disaster response, refugee admissions and other matters.

At the White House, however, as Kelly's enforcer, Nielsen quickly emerged as a controversial presence. She was responsible for carrying out some of Kelly's orders on who gets access to the president.

The department is a major player in implementing Trump's aggressive stance toward deporting illegal immigrants, as well as vetting the lower number of refugees Trump has chose to allow into the United States.

It's reported that Nielsen's appointment came after Kelly gave her a shining recommendation.

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