Senate Confirms Kirstjen Nielsen as DHS Secretary

Senate Confirms Kirstjen Nielsen as DHS Secretary

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Trump nominee and White House deputy chief of staff Kirstjen Nielsen to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

The 62-37 vote followed months of delays and questions about how she would handle the department, as well as the nation's immigration policy.

Part of her responsibilities will include hiring 15,000 new agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol, an agency that reportedly sees quick turnover among its employees.

Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) were among those who voted alongside their Republican colleagues to confirm the former principal deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as the new DHS secretary.

Duke was confirmed as deputy DHS secretary in April, but she does not have a close relationship to Nielsen.

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Nielsen brings valuable, practical experience to DHS.

Kirstjen Nielsen, a top White House aide considered to be a cybersecurity expert, will now lead the DHS. Although some Democrats have criticized Nielsen's lack of executive experience, 11 senators on the minority side supported her.

At her confirmation hearing in November, Nielsen maintained she would continue to operate DHS the way Kelly had, including parting with Trump's campaign promise on the proposed border wall.

"By confirming Ms. Nielsen's nomination to lead the DHS, this Senate will take a serious step to strengthen our nation's security", Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a statement.

Nielsen said at her confirmation hearing last month that climate change is a crucial issue and said the Trump administration is revising its climate models to better respond to rising sea levels. She served in the Transportation Security Administration during the George W. Bush administration and has also worked as a private-sector cybersecurity consultant.

"She has equivocated on protecting Dreamers and overlooked reports of DHS' management failures", Harris said.

Nielsen Will Oversee Efforts to Secure Federal IT and Critical InfrastructureEric Chabrow (GovInfoSecurity) • December 5, 2017 Kirstjen Nielsen with President Trump on the day he nominated her as DHS secretary.

But both Kelly and Nielsen have said that a wall on the entire 2,000 mile (3,200 kilometer) frontier with Mexico would be inappropriate, and that other measures, including electronic monitoring, would be required as well.

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