Senate confirms Trump's pick to lead Department of Homeland Security

Kirstjen Nielsen Confirmed As New DHS Secretary

The U.S. Senate confirmed Georgetown alumna Kirstjen Nielsen (SFS '94) as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security yesterday by a 62-37 vote. Nielsen is a close aide to John Kelly, White House Chief of Staff and former Secretary DHS.

And in a statement released after the Senate confirmed Nielsen, Sen.

"By confirming Ms. Nielsen's nomination to lead the DHS, this Senate will take a serious step to strengthen our nation's security", Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a statement.

In her new position as DHS secretary, Nielsen will oversee about 240,000 employees at Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, the Coast Guard, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and other agencies. They also cited concerns about possible White House interference in a recent DHS decision to send home thousands of Nicaraguans and Haitians long granted USA protection.

"I look forward to continuing this administration's work to raise the standards for the security of our homeland in all areas - including securing our borders, protecting Americans from terrorist threats, and securing our cyber networks", she said.

"It is my greatest honor to serve as secretary alongside the remarkable men and women of DHS", said Secretary Nielsen. "She has been working in and around the Department of Homeland Security since its creation".

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Senators Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) voted against Nielsen, voicing their concerns about her independence from the White House.

Nielsen is a "no-nonsense player and a policy wonk", though her "regimented style" has frustrated some senior White House officials accustomed to a freewheeling environment, according to a New York Times story October 11. He called Nielsen "a willing accomplice, helping to shape and implement this profoundly disturbing and un-American vision of our country".

"The president has stated as have predecessors at DHS certainly something that I share: There is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea", Nielsen told the senators. "There are many contributions to it".

The Washington Post reported Trump nominated Nielsen largely based on Kelly's advice and she has never led a federal agency or private company.

Trump repeatedly promised during the campaign that he would build the wall and that Mexico would pay for it, but the administration is seeking billions in taxpayer dollars to finance the project.

Nielsen, 45, is an attorney who has experience in homeland security and cyber security.

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