Top Homeland Security aide resigns as chaos in the department rolls on: report

Top Homeland Security aide resigns as chaos in the department rolls on: report
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan briefs President Donald Trump about illegal immigration and illicit drug smuggling during an interagency meeting at CBP’s National Targeting Center in Sterling, Virginia, Feb. 2. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) photo by Jetta Disco

A top aide to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan has chosen to resign from the department, according to a new report from Axios. DHS, which oversees American immigration policy — a key priority for President Donald Trump — has been in turmoil since the ouster of former Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as the White House jostles for control.

"President Trump is wary of McAleenan, whom he associates with the Obama administration and his top aides, several current and former administration officials tell us," Axios reported. "These sources say Trump has no intention of formally nominating McAleenan for a permanent position."

Andrew Meehan, the aide now reportedly resigning, was caught in a dispute between the White House and the department over the announcement of a new plan to detain immigrant families indefinitely, overriding the Flores agreement put in place by the courts that put strict limits on detention times and treatment, according to Axios. While the White House wanted to make a big show of the announcement, McAleenan downplayed the press conference.

But the dispute seems to broadly reflect more ongoing drama between the department and Trump, who reportedly prefers acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services director Ken Cuccinelli and acting ICE director Mark Morgan. The fact that none of these officials are actually confirmed in their positions reflects the unstable and chaotic nature of the department.

The chaos seems to stem from Trump's desire to take hardline stances on immigration, often in contravention of the law and sensible policy. McAleenan, for instance, seems to have angered the president by standing up to his plans for mass deportation sweeps in major U.S. cities. He "maintained that ICE should not devote major resources to carrying out a mass interior sweep while telling lawmakers it needs emergency funding to address the crisis at the U.S. border," the Washington Post reported.

The fact that Meehan has now resigned suggests the more tumult may be coming.

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