Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan is resigning from his post after six months, President Trump confirmed Friday.
Trump tweeted that he and McAleenan "worked well together" and that the secretary helped decrease the number of crossings at the U.S.'s southern border, but he now wanted "to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector." In turn, McAleenan thanked Trump for the opportunity. However, reports indicate that McAleenan was privately at odds with the Trump administration's immigration policies, which led to frustrations within the White House. "No one's sad about it," an administration official told Politico. "How many times do we have to do this before someone realizes it actually matters who heads these agencies?"
During his tenure, though, McAleenan did expand a program that has forced around 50,000 migrants to remain in Mexico, and he signed deals with Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras that would deny asylum protections in the U.S. to migrants if they failed to apply for asylum in another country during their journey.
Trump has not announced a replacement, but said he would choose next week. Deputy Homeland Security Secretary David Pekoske would seemingly be next in line to fill the acting role, and Mark Morgan, the acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection, is another possibility. But Politico reports that acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli, who is known for his hardline stances, appears to be the favorite. "The president understands that the opposition seeks to stop his efforts to secure the border and restore control over our nation's immigration system through court orders and injunctions," said RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which favors immigration restrictions. "What better force to stop this than the former attorney general of Virginia and one of the most skilled appellate lawyers in the country?"