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Homeland Security chief Nielsen was close to resigning

12 May 2018

Homeland Security secretary Kirstjen Nielsen reportedly drafted a resignation letter after President Donald Trump berated her in front of cabinet officials. As the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Nielsen is in charge of the 20,000 employees who work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Trump reportedly railed against Nielsen on Wednesday, saying that she failed to adequately secure the USA border, former officials with knowledge of the incident said to The Times.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was asked about the incident in Thursday's press briefing.

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"The president is rightly frustrated that existing loopholes and the lack of congressional action have prevented this administration from fully securing the border and protecting the American people".

However, a representative for the Department of Homeland Security, Tyler Q. Houlton, denied the idea, firmly labeling it "false".

Donald Trump had grown angry in recent weeks for reports of a roughly 1,200-person "caravan" of asylum-seekers from Central America traveling toward the US border. More recently, however, those numbers have climbed back toward the level they were in the final years of the Obama administration-an intolerable equivalence for Trump.

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Trump's outburst was not only aimed at Nielsen, according to the Times, but the entire cabinet for not making enough progress in stopping illegal immigration and ensuring border security.

Jeff Sessions and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had to explain to Trump that he didn't have the power to completely shut down the border. But Trump has made little progress on building the wall, and a new report from Vox claimed that Trump failed to understand even basics about what the USA government can do regarding border entries. The blowup lasted more than 30 minutes, according to a person with knowledge of what transpired, as Trump's face reddened and he raised his voice, saying Nielsen needed to "close down" the border.

The president also complained about the continued failure of his administration to find a way to build a wall along the southern border with Mexico, two people familiar with the episode said.

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"And now Kelly says to our own John Roberts - good reporting - 'I wanted to call her to make sure she wasn't going to quit.' So I guess the cover story didn't hold very long", he added. But Nielsen stood her ground, citing the law in certain instances, the source said. Trump went on a Twitter tear, writing that he'd told Nielsen to block the migrants from entering the U.S. "I share his frustration". The president urged Nielsen to be more aggressive, the official said. 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. The president and his aides in the White House had been pushing a family separation policy for weeks as a way of deterring families from trying to cross the border illegally.

Homeland Security chief Nielsen was close to resigning