Senate confirms Trump's pick to lead Department of Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen Confirmed As New DHS Secretary

After a Senate vote on Tuesday, Kirstjen Nielsen has been confirmed as John Kelly's replacement to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

"Ms. Nielsen has been engaged in counterterrorism, all-hazard risk mitigation, critical infrastructure protection, and response policy from the earliest days of what we now know as homeland security", the former officials wrote in a letter to the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

A Virginia native, Nielsen attended the University of Virginia School of Law after graduating from Georgetown.

Kelly left the Department of Homeland Security for the White House in late July during a shakeup that included the resignation of the former chief of staff, Reince Priebus.

The DHS, founded in 2002 and now the third largest government agency with around 230,000 employees, deals with national security concerns like immigration enforcement, transportation security, disaster response and managing the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Coast Guard.

"The president has stated as have predecessors at DHS certainly something that I share: There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea", Nielsen told the senators.

As we reported in October, Michael Dougherty, assistant DHS secretary for Border Immigration and Trade, said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on October 3 that the Trump administration would support legislation allowing illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children to gain lawful permanent status and eventually citizenship. "Our nation faces a complex threat landscape that is constantly evolving".

"I will do my utmost to ensure that the department meets the threats of today and tomorrow, and to ensure our frontline personnel have the tools and resources to accomplish their vital missions", she vowed.

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Nielsen was Kelly's chief of staff at DHS and went with him to the White House before Trump nominated her. DHS is the youngest federal cabinet agency, created in response to the September 11 terrorist attacks.

As a key Kelly aide, Nielsen is "one of the architects" of Trump's immigration policies, Sharry said.

Democrats complained that Nielsen lacks the experience needed to run a major agency with 240,000 employees.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said Nielsen has played a role in several questionable Trump administration decisions, including a travel ban to restrict entry from six mostly Muslim countries, termination of a program for young immigrants and what Harris called a "feeble response to Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Harvey".

"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.

And in a statement released after the Senate confirmed Nielsen, Sen.

Nielsen received a warm welcome from the woman she's replacing - DHS Acting Secretary Elaine Duke. Though Duke was expected to resign entirely from the department, she has announced that she will stick around and work directly under Nielsen.

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