Senate Confirms Kirstjen Nielsen to Lead DHS


The Senate confirmed President Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security Tuesday, almost two months after John Kelly left the agency to be the president's chief of staff.

Nielsen was confirmed by a 62-37 vote the Associated Press reported.

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.

Some Democrats, on the other hand, complained Nielsen lacks the experience needed to run a major agency, and cited concerns over Trump administration policy.

The agency is at the center of Trump's efforts to enact broad changes to the USA immigration system. The DHS has 22 subagencies, including immigration enforcement, transportation security, disaster preparedness and response, the Secret Service, and the Coast Guard. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. She comes to the job with more cybersecurity and risk management qualifications than any of her predecessors, having founded a risk management firm.

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In a statement, Duke said she looked forward to working as Nielsen's deputy, and said Nielsen has "a deep understanding of the issues facing the Department". Republican Senator Lamar Alexander did not vote, and no Republicans voted against her confirmation.

Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice Education Fund, which promotes immigrants' rights, said Trump has worked to punish immigrants and refugees, from his call to build a wall along the Mexican border to the partial travel ban to raids against immigrants. She also criticized her reluctance during confirmation hearings to accept human behavior as a cause of global climate change and said Nielsen has "equivocated on protecting 'dreamers, ' " those brought to the country illegally as children and shielded from deportation under Obama. "There are many contributions to it".

Trump repeatedly promised during the campaign that he would build the wall and that Mexico would pay for it, but the administration is seeking billions in taxpayer dollars to finance the project.

The newly confirmed secretary also pledged during her confirmation hearing to continue implementing Trump's aggressive immigration agenda.