On Sunday, it was announced that Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen abruptly resigned after clashes with the Trump administration over Trump’s desire to start separating families at the border again.
Now, on Wednesday, it was reported that the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ron Vitiello, has resigned, the latest in what seems to be a succession of individuals tied to the Department of Homeland Security.
Vitiello will officially leave his post on Friday. Mr. Trump had nominated Vitiello to become the permanent head of ICE but pulled his nomination last Friday, saying he wanted someone for the position who would take the immigration agency “in a tougher direction.”
Trump told reporters:
‘We’re going in a little different direction. Ron is a good man, but we’re going in a tougher direction.’
According to NBC:
‘Before Trump’s comments, NBC News had reported that Trump had withdrawn the nomination, citing a document sent to members of Congress on Thursday. A DHS official confirmed the document’s veracity.’
Deputy Director Matthew Albence is next in line to replace Vitiello, but DHS hasn’t said who will replace him.
Secret Service Director Tex Alles resigned on Monday. This comes after a Chinese national was arrested inside Trump’s Florida club, Mar-a-Lago, after getting past initial screening by Mar-a-Lago security.
According to NBC Miami:
‘Six government and congressional officials involved in immigration issues suggested the decision to drop Vitiello could be an impulsive staff shake-up driven by the fact that White House policies intended to stop migrants have not succeeded.
‘Many blamed Stephen Miller, the influential West Wing aide, for the decision on Vitiello and saw it as part of a plan to replace longtime immigration officials with hard-liners who appealed more to allies of Trump and Miller. The officials were not authorized to discuss internal deliberations and spoke on condition of anonymity.’
Vitiello issued a statement saying:
‘While I will not become the permanent director of ICE, I look forward to working alongside you in serving the American public with Integrity, Courage, and Excellence.’
He has been the acting head of the agency since June, and has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, starting in 1985 with the U.S. Border Patrol. Vitiello was previously Border Patrol chief and deputy commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
NBC Miami reported:
‘Vitiello was respected by his staff as a border veteran, but his experience mostly with Border Patrol, made him an odd fit to some at ICE, and some veterans of the agency said he never seemed totally in his element.’
Union leader Chris Cane wrote a letter to senators arguing that Vitiello “lacks the judgment and professionalism to effectively lead a federal agency” due to tweets that were sent from a private account.
It has been custom to release families arriving at the border from U.S. custody and allow them to settle with family or friends in the U.S. while their immigration cases make their way through the courts which can take years.
However, Trump wants to stop this policy along with increased border crossings.
Here’s what Twitter had to say:
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