Saturday, 06 June, 2020

Acting US homeland security chief McAleenan resigns

Evan Vucci  AP FILE Evan Vucci AP FILE
Deanna Wagner | 12 October, 2019, 12:24

"Kevin now, after many years in government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector", Trump posted minutes before he was supposed to appear at a campaign rally in Louisiana.

Trump in his tweet congratulated McAleenan on a "job well done" and said he would be announcing a new acting secretary next week.

McAleenan said that recently there has been a drop in apprehensions along the U.S. -Mexico border, with total enforcement actions for Central Americans who present at the border down more than 70 percent after Trump threatened Mexico with 5 percent tariffs if the government didn't do more to address the flow of illegal immigrants to the U.S. southern border.

Shortly following the president's announcement, McAleenan issued a farewell statement on Twitter, thanking Trump for his support.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.

"We have worked well together with border crossings being way down", he said.

Senior administration officials said Trump had questioned his toughness and had been spurred on by other immigration officials, including Mark Morgan and Ken Cuccinelli, to be skeptical of McAleenan.

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A source familiar with McAleenan's thinking tells CNN that the acting secretary felt he had accomplished all he could given the political realities of today - specifically the unlikelihood that any legislative deal on immigration will happen in an election year. He replaced former DHS Secretary Kirsten Nielsen, becoming the fourth acting or confirmed DHS chief under President Trump, The Washington Examiner reported.

Migrants arrested at the border fell to just over 52,000 in September, the final month of the 2019 fiscal year, down from more than 144,000 in May and the lowest monthly figure in one year.

And he brokered major agreements with Central American countries on asylum and border security - something others were unable to do.

A person close to McAleenan said he resigned on Friday after weeks of growing disenchantment with his standing in the administration.

McAleenan was named to the Homeland Security post in April following the departure of Kirstjen Nielsen.

Homeland Security has been the cabinet post with the highest turnover in the Trump administration at this point.