The Senate voted 62 to 37 to confirm Kirstjen Nielsen as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Kirstjen Nielsen was confirmed by the Senate to take over as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Nielsen, 45, will take the reins of a department with more than 240,000 employees responsible for immigration enforcement, US border and airport security, disaster response, and protecting USA infrastructure from cyber attacks.
Nielsen will be the first DHS secretary with experience working in the agency, which Trump said will assist her as she assumes leadership.
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Nielsen is a "no-nonsense player and a policy wonk", though her "regimented style" has frustrated some senior White House officials accustomed to a freewheeling environment, according to a New York Times story October 11. Nielsen, a close colleague of Kelly's, previously served on the Homeland Security Council in the George W. Bush administration and developed domestic policy with the TSA.
Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson said in a statement that Nielsen had not yet shown "she has the ability to lead a workforce of 240,000 while keeping the country safe and secure", and said DHS had so far been used as a "political tool of the White House".
Nielsen "is ready to answer this call to duty", Johnson said.
Nielsen, a cybersecurity expert, said she views cybersecurity as the most important issue that the DHS will address under her leadership.
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Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) voted against Nielsen, voicing their concerns about her independence from the White House. "With her understanding of the challenges facing our nation and her experience in prevention and preparedness, I believe that she will excel as the next Secretary of Homeland Security". We'll be following Nielsen as she takes on the new role and shapes policy at DHS moving forward.
We have not seen any report about Nielsen's views on the Trump administration's position on whether "Dreamers", as those who qualified for USA residency under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program are often called, should be allowed to stay in the United States.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on September 5 that the DACA program will end in six months, giving Congress time to find a legislative solution for people enrolled in the program.
Nielsen served at DHS as chief of staff under former head John Kelly in the early days of the Trump administration.
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The Justice Department under Sessions, and DHS under Nielsen, will share in enforcing different portions of immigration law.