Donald Trump’s presidency has been characterized by controversial immigration policies and an alarmingly high staff turnover rate. In fact, as of March 1, 2019, the turnover rate for senior-level members of the executive office rests at 65%, with West Wing officials anticipating future departures.
In the last two years, disenchanted administration members have released countless publications concerning the employment conditions at Trump’s White House. These personal accounts have painted the silhouette of a verbally abusive micromanager who demands absolute loyalty and hates hearing the word “no.” Plus, whenever members of the administration upset Donald Trump, they often find their names being lambasted on the president’s prolific Twitter account.
The current staff exodus has created an unprecedented situation for the Presidential Personnel Office. The administration is struggling to fill critical vacancies and has resorted to posting on job websites and setting up camp at school job fairs.
However, President Trump’s DHS chief, Kirstjen Nielsen, isn’t going anywhere, and she isn’t afraid to use the president’s most hated word: no.
A Contentious Working Relationship
Since the president’s inauguration, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has become one of the familiar faces defending the Trump Administration’s most controversial border policies. Democratic politicians have accused her of having “no feeling” and “no compassion” when it comes to the devastating family separation policy.
But Sec. Nielsen also has the arduous duty of keeping the president in line. In their article, “Kirstjen Nielsen Digs in After Surviving Trump’s Wrath,” Politico writers Gabby Orr and Daniel Lippman explain: “Early in her tenure, Trump would regularly dial her cellphone in anger when DHS published monthly border apprehension numbers showing an uptick, often asking her why the government couldn’t detain undocumented minors indefinitely. Because that, Nielson would calmly explain, would be illegal.”
Last March, Sec. Nielsen once again found her job in jeopardy when the President wanted to expedite the bidding process for his border wall. A former DHS official told Orr and Lippman that “He would get frustrated by the bureaucracy. He’s an executive who just wanted to do it immediately.”
After suffering constant battles and belittling sexist comments, Sec. Nielsen found her job in the hands of a frustrated president who continually refuses to accept the various complexities and regulations that define immigration law. As Orr and Lippman report, “More than a dozen former and current administration officials and others close to Nielsen…described the DHS chief as a former dead woman walking.”
In the last few months, Sec. Nielsen’s strict handling of Trump’s border wall fixation and the departure of John Kelly, the former White House chief of staff, have opened new opportunities for the DHS chief. Chad Sweet, a former DHS chief of staff, explained that “Kirstjen is still standing strong as secretary because she gets results and doesn’t get distracted.” Sec. Neilsen’s reshuffling of department staff has eased the agency’s focus “well beyond the president’s pet obsession of immigration” to incorporate cyber security and domestic counter-terrorism. She’s stopped fearing the loss of her career and is instead directing her attention to where she feels it’s needed. An anonymous person told Orr and Lippman that Sec. Nielsen is “past the point of giving a crap to please the president or anybody else at the White House.”
The Controversial “Remain in Mexico” Policy
However, one of Sec. Nielsen’s efforts to strengthen her power base and restore department morale isn’t popular with Democratic lawmakers and human rights organizations. She has been credited with the development of the Migrant Protection Protocols – commonly known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy – which prevents migrants and asylum seekers from crossing the border even after they petition U.S. border authorities for relief. Impoverished asylum seekers have been forced to wait in makeshift border shelters until American immigration judges can hear their cases. Their living conditions make it difficult to collaborate with U.S.-based immigration lawyers who are responsible for facilitating their entry into the United States.
The American Civil Liberties Union has already filed a lawsuit against Sec. Nielsen and her department, claiming that the “Remain in Mexico” policy is a violation of the Immigration and Nationality Act, the Administrative Procedures Act, and various domestic and international human rights laws.
Schedule a Consultation & Protect Your Legal Rights
The Trump Administration expects the Migrant Protection Protocols to send hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers back to Mexico. As of February 21, 2019, over 110 migrants have already been deported to await their hearings. If you have concerns about your immigration status or fear deportation, contact the Coral Springs immigration attorneys at Guerra Sáenz, PL. Our legal team can evaluate your case and explain your legal options during a safe and confidential consultation appointment. We can guide you through each step of this complicated legal process and defend your path to citizenship.
Call Guerra Sáenz, PL today at (888) 936-3228 schedule a consultation.