Washington, D.C. – Kevin McAleenan on Friday resigned his post at the helm of the Department of Homeland Security, bringing to end a six-month tenure in which he struggled to maintain control of a sprawling law enforcement and security agency to push President Trump's stringent immigration agenda.
McAleenan went to the White House on Friday afternoon to make his resignation a source close to McAleenan told CBS News.
"His goal was to bring down the numbers of border crossings." McAleenan's decision had been weeks in the making and he did that as much as he could in this political environment what's not fueled by the House's intense impeachment inquiry into the president.
Mr. Trump praised McAleenan in a tweet on Friday night. "Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job as acting secretary of homeland security." Kevin now, after many years in government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector . "
The president did not announce a replacement, only saying he has" wonderful "candidates for the job.
McAleenan, a career law enforcement official, has come out of a series of controversial reactions to a major surge in the US May, his first full month leading the department, the US apprehended more than 133,000 migrants along the southern border – a 13-year monthly high. Since June, however, monthly apprehensions have dropped sharply, reachingin September.
McAleenan has been overshadowed by agency officials who have been vocal in their support for the president's immigration policies and rhetoric.
In an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor and managing editor Norah O'Donnell in July, McAleenan said he was not not
"I'm not worried about that right now." I'm worried about solving this problem: protecting families and kids coming to our border, protecting our border and securing it, "he said.
McAleenan has been working on a rare low profile since assuming the post in April, distancing himself from the inflammatory rhetoric on immigration often employed by Mr. Trump , and focusing on leading diplomatic engagements with countries in Latin America, where most US-bound migrants are coming from or through.
In recent weeks, McAleenan brokered "asylum cooperation agreements" with all three countries in Central America's Northern Triangle: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. The deals, which have not been implemented, would allow the U.S. to reroute asylum seekers from across the world to those countries and have them seek refuge there – despite the rampant violence and poverty in many parts of this region.
McAleenan has pushed back against several controversial moves favored by hardliners in his department and the White House. He was reportedly opposed to a large-scale operation to complete migrant families with pending removal orders in cities across the U.S.. In September, McAleenan ordered U.S.
He is also one of the few Trump administration officials to express his regretsfrom their parents between late 2017 and the summer of 2018.
"When you loose a public trust in law enforcement initiative- and you have to." recalibrate at the presidential level-that means not successful, "McAleenan told" 60 Minutes "in April.
Kirstjen Nielsen in April, McAleenan oversaw the release of the "zero tolerance" policy – a practice he and other top homeland Security officials recommended to Nielsen.
McAleenan drew criticism from both immigration hawks and immigrant advocates and Democrats.
McAleenan was forced to leave his place at a conference in Washington after a group of pro-immigrant protesters broke him by Border Patrol custody in recent months.
"When immigrants are under attack, what do we do?" one woman shouted. "Stand up. Fight back!" The rest of the protesters responded.
Under his watch, the Department of Homeland Security has dramatically expanded the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, a policy that requires more than 50,000 asylum seekers to wait in northern Mexico for the duration of their legal proceedings. Opponents have been scathing in their criticism of the program, saying it violates both. Mexican border cities and access to legal counsel is scarce.
Along with increased immigration enforcement by the Mexican government, McAleenan and the administration have directly pointed to the MPP program when explaining the drop in border apprehensions.
McAleenan unveiled a regulation that would allow the US to detain migrant families with children for longer periods of time than currently allowed – a move that advocates fear would lead to indefinite detention. He is also known as the United States of America.
In a series of tweets Friday night, the president said he would announce McAleenan's replacement next week.
Democratic Representative Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, who chairs the House's oversight board with the Department of Homeland Security, said McAleenan's successor should be formally nominated for a Senate confirmation process. The candidates, Thompson added, should not have blind loyalty to the president.
"The next secretary must understand the president's trump's obsession over a wall and keeping it out of the job description," Thompson said in statement.