The US Senate confirmed White House deputy chief of staff Kirstjen Nielsen as Secretary of Homeland Security on Tuesday, putting her in charge of implementing the Trump administration's immigration crackdown.
Her confirmation came on a day when DHS reclaimed substantial success in slowing illegal immigration across the southern border and arresting and deporting criminal aliens.
The department will play a major role in those efforts, as well as in the continued recovery of storm-devastated Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico. She was a deputy to former head John Kelly, who became head of the White House office in July.
President Trump congratulates Kirstjen Nielsen, the newly confirmed Homeland Security secretary, during a White House ceremony in October to announce her nomination.
"As our country continues to face ever-evolving threats at home and overseas, it is critical - now more than ever - that we have an experienced and apolitical leader at the Department of Homeland Security to work with us in our efforts to keep New Hampshire and the United States safe, secure, and free", said Sen.
As a key Kelly aide, Nielsen is "one of the architects" of Trump's immigration policies, Sharry said. 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. Ms. Nielsen will be charged with leading the department at a critical time.
That concerned some Democrats, who tried to block her confirmation. Maggie Hassan (D-N.H.), who voted against confirming Nielsen.
Senators approved Nielsen's nomination, 62-37, on Tuesday. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) did not vote.
Nielsen, 45, is a lawyer and veteran of the national security sector.
After her confirmation, Breitbart News, the alt-right mouthpiece run by former Trump strategist Steve Bannon, mocked her as "Lady DACA" - a reference to her assurance to Sen. Kamala Harris, Calif., cited similar doubts about Nielsen's independence. "She has yet to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus that human behavior contributes to climate change, even as states like California face the increasing threats of wildfires, floods, and rising sea levels".
Nielsen was chosen by the White House as the preferred nominee in early 2017 but waffled on the decision, which stalled the nomination of DHS leadership for months.
Nielsen is expected to be sworn in sometime in the next few days, according to the DHS.
Trump has repeatedly praised Kelly, a retired general, but has also reportedly defied his apparent attempts to tame the chaos on a number of occasions.