Senate confirms Trump's Homeland Security nominee

Kirstjen Nielsen

The Senate voted 59-33 Monday to support the nomination of Kirstjen Nielsen as the next Department of Homeland Security secretary, the Washington Examiner reported Monday. She followed Kelly to the White House when the former Marine general replaced the beleaguered Reince Priebus as Trump's chief of staff.

By confirming Ms. Nielsen's nomination to lead DHS, the Senate will take a serious step to strengthen our nation's security. Though no GOP senators sided against her, the outcome reflected both intense opposition to Trump as well as doubts about Nielsen's executive leadership experience and willingness to challenge the White House in the event of a disagreement.

Homeland Security has been leading the charge on implementing Trump's aggressive immigration agenda, and Nielsen pledged to continue that work.

"I can't unequivocally state it's caused by humans", she said.

Despite increasing prominence in the national conversation, cybersecurity was a secondary topic during Nielsen's confirmation hearing.

Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) were among those who voted alongside their Republican colleagues to confirm the former principal deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as the new DHS secretary. They also cited concerns about possible White House interference in a recent DHS decision to send home thousands of Nicaraguans and Haitians long granted US protection.

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Nielsen comes to the job largely on the power of his endorsement.

Homeland Security oversees the nation's borders, cybersecurity and response to natural disasters, among other areas.

Nielsen breezed through her confirmation hearing last month before members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, assuring lawmakers she would not obey an unlawful order from the White House. But Nielsen told the Senate's homeland security panel that "there is no need for a wall from sea to shining sea".

Her position will also drop her into the middle of multiple immigration fights, as senators debate how to address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) criticized Nielsen for playing a role in the development of Trump's travel ban and a failure to acknowledge how humans contribute to climate change, according to the AP.

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