Meet America's New Secretary of Homeland Security

Meet America's New Secretary of Homeland Security

Meet America's New Secretary of Homeland Security

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen to be secretary of Homeland Security, permanently filling the vacancy created when President Donald Trump selected retired Gen. John Kelly to be his chief of staff.

Secretary Nielsen was joined by White House and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials during a brief swearing-in at the White House.

As Secretary of DHS, Nielsen will be in charge of 240,000 employees in 22 sub-agencies with broad jurisdiction and a range of responsibilities, including immigration enforcement, border patrol, aviation security, disaster preparedness, domestic counter-terrorism, the Secret Service, and the Coast Guard.

Nielsen will be the first cyber professional to head the agency charged with protecting federal civilian networks, leading efforts to coordinate cybersecurity of privately owned critical infrastructure.

"By confirming Ms. Nielsen's nomination to lead the DHS, this Senate will take a serious step to strengthen our nation's security", Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement.

Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), the chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and a onetime prospect for the DHS top job, said, "I am confident that Kirstjen's mission-focused style of leadership will help her succeed in leading the men and women of DHS and ensuring we reform and improve the Department".

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Nielsen, a cybersecurity expert, said she views cybersecurity as the most important issue that the DHS will address under her leadership.

The Washington Post reported Trump nominated Nielsen largely based on Kelly's advice and she has never led a federal agency or private company.

The Senate confirmed her nomination 62-37, with 10 Democrats joining the Republican majority.

Elaine Duke had served as acting homeland security secretary since July. During her confirmation hearing, noted the Post, she told senators she learned key lessons about emergency management by having a front-row seat at the much-criticized Bush administration's response to Hurricane Katrina.

Nielsen served as Kelly's deputy and followed him to the White House in July. Original DACA recipients were unaffected, and individuals who had received three year validity periods for DACA and the associated work authorization under the November 2014 memorandum prior to the district court injunction were allowed to maintain those approvals through their expiration, unless terminated or revoked for case specific reasons. Ultimately, however, it is the president and Congress who must define what our national immigration policy must be.

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