Homeland Security Chief Was Close To Resigning After Trump Tirade

ImageKirstjen Nielsen the secretary of homeland security

In response to Newsweek's request for comment, DHS press secretary Tyler Q. Houlton cited a Thursday afternoon tweet from his office, calling the Times story false. A separate White House official confirmed that Trump exploded over immigration in front of the Cabinet.

Nielsen, who is a protegee of John Kelly, the White House chief of staff, has drafted a resignation letter but has not submitted it, according to two of the people.

What Trump didn't note when conveying those orders, however, is that the US has a domestic and global legal obligation to process any immigrant who comes to its borders seeking asylum.

"We should fold all of the TPS people that have been here for a considerable period of time and find a way for them to be on a path to citizenship", Kelly, one of President Donald Trump's top aides, said in an interview.

She added that there was some credence to Trump's frustration, citing "loopholes" and "lack of congressional inaction" that have prevented tougher border laws.


Trump, who has grown increasingly frustrated by a spike in border apprehensions and legal setbacks, blamed Nielsen Wednesday for failing to do enough to stop them, according to people familiar with the exchange.

One person familiar with Trump's blowup at the meeting said it was prompted by a discussion about why Mexico was not doing more to prevent illegal border crossings into the United States. But Nielsen took the wide-reaching criticism of the administration's failures in this area personally, reportedly telling associates that if Trump was unhappy with her performance, she would leave. In a Thursday statement, Nielsen reiterated her commitment to securing the country's porous borders, especially those along the Mexican 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.

Current U.S. immigration and asylum laws allow foreign nationals passing through Mexico to arrive at the southern border and claim credible fear. At the meeting, both Nielsen and Attorney General Jeff Sessions tried in vain to explain to Donald Trump that the federal government can not completely shut down the border. The president's anger was stoked by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who remarked that the Department of Homeland Security could just arrest people at the border, the source said. But this year, they have risen again.

Kelly said that while most illegal immigrants "are not bad people. they're also not people that would easily assimilate" into modern American society. This week, the Justice Department announced that it would be prosecuting 100 percent of illegal border crossings-a decision that will involve separating more families, removing children from their parents when they are apprehended and detained.

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