The Department of Homeland Security is now being led by two former President George W. Bush officials: Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke.
On Wednesday, Nielsen was sworn in to lead DHS, taking over the agency from Duke. Duke has announced that she will stick around and work directly under Nielsen.
Nielsen, like Duke, has a close relationship with President Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly. While Kelly was DHS Secretary earlier in the year, Nielsen served in the agency as his chief of staff while Duke was also deputy secretary.
After Kelly left DHS to become Trump’s chief of staff, Nielsen followed him to the White House, becoming Kelly’s deputy chief of staff. In the meantime, Duke took over DHS.
Now that Nielsen is returning to DHS, Kelly will once again have a close eye and tight reigns on the department. The maneuvering to put former Bush officials in charge of DHS is a break from Trump’s promise that he would “drain the swamp” of old-guard bureaucrats who previously contributed to the current immigration crisis facing the nation.
While Duke previously worked for Bush in DHS, Nielsen previously worked for Bush as a special assistant. During her tenure in the Bush White House, Nielsen was part of the crisis team following Hurricane Katrina in 2005 that worked with DHS to dismantle immigration and labor laws that eventually led to at least 30,000 illegal aliens pouring into the Gulf Coast to take reconstruction jobs that would have otherwise gone to Americans who had been impacted by the storm.
In a long-form profile piece, Breitbart News revealed how Nielsen is closely aligned with the failed “Never Trump” movement and national security establishment figures, such as Tom Ridge, Michael Chertoff, and Frances Townsend, all of which opposed Trump’s electoral victory in 2016.
Working as the chair of a World Economic Forum committee, Nielsen promoted mass immigration to Europe and the U.S., claiming Western nations did not have a choice and needed to accept millions of migrants. That report, as Breitbart News reported, was co-authored by executives from multinational corporations and world banks.
Not only does Nielsen’s prior experience run contrary to Trump’s populist-nationalist agenda on immigration, but her current views on illegal immigration and amnesty for illegal aliens ignore the president’s pro-America agenda.
During a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Nielsen said she believed that Americans “owe” amnesty to illegal aliens who have been shielded from deportation by the President Obama-created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“I believe that we must, and we owe it to them to find a permanent solution,” she said of passing a DACA amnesty that could potentially lead to a chain migration of 9.9 million to 19 million foreign nationals pouring into the U.S. legally. “It’s no way to expect anyone to live a month or two months at a time,” said Nielsen, even though the DACA work-permits each last for two years.
Nielsen also downplayed Trump’s border wall plan, the most important immigration initiative, during the committee hearing, saying, “There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea,” Breitbart News reported.
Instead, Nielsen touted “technology” along the southern border as being just as necessary to stop illegal immigration. The technology-based “virtual-wall” narrative is often used by Democrats and the Republican establishment to fake sympathy for the public’s insistence on a border wall.
Even when it comes to how to best deter illegal immigration, Nielsen fell back on a bureaucratic, globalist-aligned position rather than one taken from Trump’s pro-American immigration principles.
For instance, Nielsen said that the U.S. should deter illegal immigration from Central America with a quasi-nation-building plan whereby taxpayer money is used to help better the economies of places like Guatemala and El Salvador.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated. An earlier version incorrectly described Nielsen and Duke’s former titles and also stated that Duke was expected to resign, which a DHS spokesperson says “were false rumors”.