Trump appoints Kirstjen Nielsen new chief of homeland security, Breitbart fumes at choice

Donald Trump just appointed a new chief of homeland security - Kirstjen Nielsen, welcoming the cybersecurity specialist with effusive praise and a call to do more on border control even as Trump’s unbending right wing supporters see this appointment as an example of a Trump opposer who represents none of the fiery anti immigration stance that Trump ran on.

Trump’s former chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s newspaper calls Nielsen a far cry from Trumpism who is bound to “create tension between Trump and his base of supporters”.

US Homeland Security gets a new chief - Kristjen Nielsen/ Reuters

US Homeland Security gets a new chief - Kristjen Nielsen/ Reuters

Does this mean 2018 may see a softer line on defining “criminality” for DHS enforcement actions? Hard to say at this juncture, particulalrly because Nielsen’s crowning comes exactly 24 hours after the most comprehensive statistical snapshot of immigration enforcement under Trump which shows says arrests by deportation officers have soared after Trump’s ascent.

Nielsen, 45, is the permanent replacement for John F. Kelly, who led homeland security secretary until he joined Trump as White House chief of staff this summer.

“You've done so well and we really appreciate it.  And I know you'll be here for a long while and working together, but this is a very special occasion because this is an issue I ran on -- it's borders, it's homeland security.  And it's one of the certainly important things.  I can't ever say anything is the most important, because our military is the most important, and lots of other things.  But this is right there.  This is one of the real big issues,” Trump said at Nielsen's oath taking.

Nielsen is best known for her role as loyal, no-nonsense aide to John Kelly.

Nielsen’s CV is coming under harsh glare for its apprent gaps in managing large size teams. At the DHS, Nielsen will head a massive team size of 240,000 people responsible for border and aviation security, counterterrorism, immigration and recovery from natural disasters.

Before the DHS top job, Nielsen worked as Kelly’s top aide and did a string of consulting jobs prior to that.

In the George W. Bush administration, Nielsen served as special assistant to the President and senior director for prevention, preparedness and response at the White House Homeland Security Council. She also launched and ran the Transportation Security Administration's offices of legislative policy and government affairs.

Responding to a specific question from firebrand Indian origin Democratic Senator Kamala Harris, Nielsen, during the course of her confirmation hearings, said that removing illegals protected under the Dreamers Act will not be an enforcement priority.

Link: Nielsen's response to Kamala Harris, from TC: 01:11:08

Nielsen also clarified that “criminality” for the purpose of law enforcement would not include the original illegal entry in cases of the Dreamers who were brought in to the country as little children by their parents.

Sure enough, the ultra right wing Brietbart News has pounced on Nielsen’s elevation as further evidence of Kelly draining the White House of Trumpism and filling it with more centrist voices. “Now that Nielsen is returning to DHS, Kelly will once again have a close eye and tight reigns on the department. The maneuvering to put former Bush officials in charge of DHS is a break from Trump’s promise that he would “drain the swamp” of old-guard bureaucrats who previously contributed to the current immigration crisis facing the nation,” says Breitbart.

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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2017 05:38:29 IST

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