After President Donald Trump announced on Friday night the resignation of Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan, immigrant rights advocates vowed that “we will not forget his cruelty.”
Families Belong Together, a national coalition of nearly 250 organizations, tweeted that McAleenan “was never fit to lead” the department and, as its chief, “has caused tremendous suffering in our communities.”
Trump, who disclosed McAleenan’s departure in a pair of tweets on Friday, said he would announce a replacement next week. “Kevin McAleenan has done an outstanding job” and “we have worked well together,” Trump wrote. “Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector.”
According to New York Times White House correspondent Maggie Haberman, who tweeted about the development on Friday, “Despite the president tweeting the news, McAleenan was not forced from his job. He made the decision, went to the WH today with letter, per people familiar with the events, and told the president tonight by phone.”
McAleenan, in his own statement shared on Twitter Friday night, thanked Trump “for the opportunity to serve alongside the men and women of the Department of Homeland Security” and said that he “will work with the White House and DHS leadership teams on a smooth transition.”
Rights advocates and Democrats in Congress responded by highlighting McAleenan’s role in imposing the Trump’s widely condemned immigration policies and pointing out that this is just the latest in a long series of departures from administration.
“Since Day One, this administration has inflicted an anti-family and anti-immigrant agenda marked by extraordinary cruelty and chaos on our nation,” Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) said in a statement Friday.
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“The departure of the acting Homeland Security secretary is the latest sign of this administration’s failed leadership, which has worsened the humanitarian situation at the border, injected pain and tragedy into countless lives, and done nothing to improve the situation at the border,” she added. “The administration’s barbaric family separation policy and the appalling conditions facing children and families at the border will leave a dark and enduring stain on our nation for years to come.”
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