It has now been several weeks since the media erupted over reports of a significant shakeup in leadership in the Trump administration’s Department of Homeland Security, and alleged details behind the scenes of those changes are now leaking out.
It is now being reported that former DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top immigration official Ronald Vitiello were pushed out in part because of their strong opposition to a proposed crackdown on illegal immigrants residing in the interior of the nation.
Massive operation aimed at family units
According to Fox News, the claims stem from a report in the Washington Post, which cited several unnamed current and former DHS officials as sources.
That piece alleged that the Trump administration intended to launch a massive operation to arrest and deport illegal immigrant families released into the country, doing so with a goal of sending a clear message to other migrant families that they would not be allowed to stay simply because they entered with children in tow.
The operation was to be centered on major cities such as Chicago, Los Angeles and New York City, among others, and involve fast-tracking immigration court hearings with automatic deportation orders issued for anyone who failed to show up, as well as coordinated raids within those major cities to round up and deport known illegal immigrant families.
Pushback to blame for ouster?
Nielsen and Vitiello reportedly pushed back against the idea on the grounds that the plan was logistically unsound, that it would draw precious resources away from the border region, and that it would likely backfire in the court of public opinion.
Nielsen is alleged to have specifically argued that targeting illegal immigrant families would detract from the stated priority of the administration to only go after “criminal aliens” who posed an obvious threat.
The sources suggested that the pushback from Nielsen and Vitiello played a role in Trump’s decision to remove them from leadership positions in DHS.
Alternative theories abound
It is worth noting that Homeland Security, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the White House all declined to comment on the allegations put forward by the Post.
It should further be pointed out that the Associated Press offered up a rather different reason for Nielsen’s exit from DHS, namely her frustration in garnering sufficient assistance from other agencies in dealing with the dramatic increase of family units crossing the border illegally.
It was already surmised and admitted that Trump wanted tougher leaders in charge of immigration policies, so there may be an element of truth to the report that Nielsen and Vitiello were pushed out for not backing a tough crackdown still in the planning stage.
However, common sense and past experience with the manner in which the liberal media negatively spin everything that comes out of the Trump administration would suggest that the truth of the matter is somewhat different than what was portrayed by the Post.