NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana — One week after Hurricane Katrina made landfall in August 2005, President George W. Bush consulted with his team of crisis advisers and inundated the Gulf Coast with cheap, illegal alien labor.
Bush’s August decision to lift the Davis-Bacon wage law made it very easy for contractors to hire cheap labor. Mike Chertoff, the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), quickly suspended sanctions on the employers who did hire illegal aliens.
The result was another flood – this time not of water, but of illegal aliens, 30,000 of which came to the Gulf Coast to take cleanup and blue-collar construction jobs that would have otherwise gone to the local Americans who just had their livelihood picked up and swept into the Gulf of Mexico.
One member of Bush’s flood-the-labor-market crisis team was Kirstjen Nielsen, then a Special Assistant to the President for Homeland Security.
“We had been told that 270 jobs might be available, and we could have filled every one of them with men from this area, most of whom lost their jobs because of the hurricane,” Linda Swope of Complete Employment Services Inc. in Mobile, Alabama told the Washington Times in 2006. “When we told the guys they would not be needed, they actually cried … and we cried with them. This is a shame.”
New Orleans, the city at the epicenter of the Katrina crisis, had been overrun by illegal aliens, leaving Americans in the dust.
“They let trucks full of illegal aliens in there and not the property owners?” New Orleans business owner R.J. Rouzan said to a City Hall employee in 2005.
“They are allowing people to come in who are getting jobs while we as homeowners who built this city, they don’t let us get access to our property,” Rouzan said.
The decision by Bush to seemingly ignore rampant illegal immigration and illegal hiring in the wake of Katrina had shattered what was left of the Rule of Law in an already lawless city like post-Katrina New Orleans.
In February 2006, the illegal alien flow to the South would go ignored by Bush officials in the administration’s official report titled The Federal Response to Hurricane Katrina: Lessons Learned, authored by a group of bureaucrats, including Nielsen and her friend Frances Fragos Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
More than ten years later, during a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Nielsen would once again ignore her behind-closed-doors role in the illegal immigration calamity following Katrina.
Now, fast-forward ten years. It is January 2016.
Americans are in the midst of the most consequential presidential election in recent U.S. history. Then-candidate and billionaire businessman Donald Trump stood at the center of the stage during a Fox Business/Facebook GOP presidential primary debate.
Beside Trump stood six Republican challengers, all refusing to take up the Celebrity Apprentice star’s winning, populist immigration message: Build a wall, deport illegal aliens, reduce immigration, and put American citizens first.
“That could be the great Trojan Horse,” Trump said of the mass migration that had been flowing into Europe since 2014 and led to some of the deadliest terror attacks in the world.
“There could be people that are going to do great, great destruction,” Trump continued. “When I look at the migration, I looked at the line … where are the women? There are like very few women, very few children. Strong powerful men, young. And people are looking at that and they’re saying ‘What’s going on?'”
“We owe $19 trillion dollars. Our country’s a mess. And we can’t let all these people come into our countries and break our borders. We can’t do it,” Trump said to enthusiastic applause.
January 2016 was a major turning point in Trump’s pro-American immigration agenda.
That month, populist conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly told Breitbart News‘s Julia Hahn — now working in the West Wing of the White House — that Trump’s message on immigration would set him over the edge and make him president.
“If we don’t stop immigration—this torrent of immigrants coming in—we’re not going to be America anymore because most of the people coming in have no experience with limited government,” Schlafly told Hahn. “They don’t know what that is. They look to the government to solve all of their problems, and as soon as we have a high majority of people who think that, it’s going to be a different country.”
Two weeks later, then-Sen. Jeff Sessions’ top aide, Stephen Miller, a son of the immigration reform movement, joined the Trump campaign, declaring to the rest of the Republican presidential contenders that a pro-American immigration agenda would continue to lead the way forward for the frontrunner.
While Trump’s populist-nationalist campaign led a worldwide charge against mass immigration, similar to the then-not-yet-won Brexit campaign in the U.K. and the revolt against German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s open borders policies, Nielsen was on the front-lines of the globalist, pro-migration plea.
Nearly eight years out of the Bush White House, Nielsen had stayed around in Washington, D.C. for consulting work.
She joined the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Risk & Resilience, chairing the committee of multinational corporations and world banks.
As Trump was campaigning against the European migrant crisis, Nielsen was embracing the migration, showing her support by donating to a super-PAC that supported the pro-immigration Jeb Bush in 2015.
During the same month that Schlafly had backed Trump for his “America First” agenda, Nielsen’s committee released an ideologically-globalist report, promoting the European migrant crisis as a win for big business who would profit greatly from a never-ending stream of cheap, foreign migrants.
“The key policy issue confronting Europe is not whether to accept forced migrants but rather how to turn the associated challenges into opportunities,” Nielsen’s report stated.
Nielsen recommended that security risks and economic turmoil throughout Europe be pushed aside to focus primarily on the benefits of cheap labor.
“Reframing the discourse surrounding refugees from one of risk to one that recognizes the substantial social and economic contribution they can make to their host societies is increasingly important in light of the current largescale influx of migrants into Europe,” the report urged.
Though Nielsen kept quiet during the presidential election, her friends from the Bush administration became vocal opponents of the Trump agenda.
Three months after Nielsen released her pro-mass immigration report, Frances Townsend, whom Nielsen has kept as a close friend, signed on to a letter with 94 other Washington, D.C., establishment figures and former Bush administration officials that claimed Trump was “so utterly unfitted to the office.”
Less than a year before her denouncing of Trump, Townsend opposed Trump’s travel ban, claiming that by not accepting refugees from a number of Middle Eastern countries, the plan would “alienate” Muslims.
“Here in this country, it is incredibly important that we not alienate our Muslim friends here in the United States and around the world,” Townsend said in December 2015.
Nielsen’s friends from the Bush administration were unable to stop Trump.
In November 2016, Trump pulled off the greatest political upset in U.S. history, defeating Democrat Hillary Clinton in the presidential election by sticking to his pro-American immigration agenda.
Seeing Trump’s victory, Nielsen switched teams and joined the Trump team as a volunteer, helping Gen. John Kelly prep for his nomination to lead DHS and eventually working directly with Kelly at the department.
Many of her D.C. friends made the same switch.
When a mid-quarter shake-up occurred inside the White House, Kelly was moved from DHS to Chief of Staff, replacing former Republican National Convention (RNC) Chairman Reince Priebus.
Nielsen, again, followed Kelly to the Oval Office, taking a job as his deputy chief of staff.
In the meantime, former Bush official Elaine Duke was put in charge of DHS. In October 2017, Nielsen was announced as Trump’s nominee to lead the agency.
The former Bush official with a record of promoting open borders, having little to no experience on immigration issues, and being a member of the old-guard neoconservative political establishment – was now to be tasked with advancing the immigration agenda that begins and ends with building a border wall.
Will she embrace the America First philosophy? Can she distance herself from her Bush allies?
These were the questions pro-American immigration reformers asked themselves as they scratched their head at Trump’s choice.
In the meantime, the consultant-turned-DHS nominee earned the support of her friends from the Bush dynasty and failed “Never Trump” movement: Townsend, former DHS Secretary Tom Ridge, Chertoff, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and lobbyist Stewart Verdery.
Nielsen’s nomination had made Ridge — a supporter of open borders throughout the Bush administration — cheerful for the Trump administration for the first time.
Less than two years before his public admiration for Nielsen’s nomination, Ridge made a point to publicly label Trump an “embarrassment” to the U.S. – opposing, like Townsend, his then-proposed travel ban from foreign nations that have a history of exporting Islamic terrorists.
In the month Trump was inaugurated, Ridge told U.S. News that he preferred “a president who’ll tear down a wall rather than build one, but he’s determined to build it.”
Nielsen’s nomination had begun with putting a smile back on the faces of Bush globalist ideologues, but their involvement in her nomination process had just started.
Ahead of her hearing before the Senate committee, Nielsen was prepped by former Bush colleague Thad Bingel, who coupled his Washington, D.C. consulting work with opposing Trump’s border wall.
“Anyone who thinks the wall is a solution in itself is wrong,” Bingel told an Australian news agency this year.
The pre-staged introduction for Nielsen at the hearing was set to feature Ridge, the open borders advocate, and Chertoff, who had successfully dismantled the nation’s borders in the aftermath of Katrina.
Instead, Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), one of the architects of the largest amnesty bill for illegal aliens in 2013 known as the “Gang of Eight,” introduced Nielsen, reading statements from both Ridge and Chertoff.
“Kirstjen offers our nation the credentials required of a secretary in today’s environment,” Chertoff wrote in his statement.
Then came Nielsen’s question and answer period of the hearing, the moment that gave pro-American immigration reformers their answer on whether or not this D.C. consultant had suddenly morphed into an anti-establishment defender of sovereign borders and nation-states.
With a barrage of immigration concessions and national security jargon, Nielsen repeatedly contradicted Trump’s immigration agenda before Senators.
First came the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, created by former President Obama. The Trump administration announced the end of DACA for nearly 800,000 illegal aliens. Despite amnesty never being part of the America First agenda, Nielsen strayed, saying Americans “owe” amnesty to the DACA illegal aliens.
Second came the border wall, the single most prominent component of the Trump agenda. Nielsen conceded to Senators on the wall, saying “There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea.”
Third, on the concept of deterring illegal immigration, Nielsen suggested a quasi-nation-building scheme whereby the U.S. becomes more involved in bettering the economies of foreign nations in Central America in order to stop the flow of illegal aliens from the region.
“We have to increase the prosperity there,” Nielsen said. “There’s a variety of programs, you and I have discussed, including the Alliance for Prosperity. But to really help the community find jobs, track the private sector, and enable the community to be resilient in such a way that it in of itself provides the type of environment that citizens would want to stay.”
Despite having nearly three hours to speak before the Senate committee, Nielsen did not mention a single immigration principle from Trump’s detailed, 70-point list that had been largely crafted by Stephen Miller.
The ignore-at-all-costs maneuver was a throwback to Nielsen’s days in the Bush administration, when she and her colleagues used the Lessons Learned report after Katrina to ignore the illegal alien invasion.
Nielsen’s support for lax immigration laws is unlikely to cause problems with the GOP political establishment or Democrats, both of which have attempted to scramble together multiple amnesty bills. Her confirmation is bound to create tension between Trump and his base of supporters.
A shoe-in with the political elite, the lady of DACA is a far cry from where the Trump movement started, and hardly a step away from where she began in Bush’s White House, as a bureaucrat.