Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan steps down

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan steps down

President Donald Trump said Friday that Kevin McAleenan was stepping down as the acting secretary of Homeland Security.

Despite taking on the role of acting secretary in early April, McAleenan was never nominated by Trump to permanently assume the position.

Trump, the then-acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement and others said it would be a show of force that could help deter people from coming in.

"Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector", Trump tweeted shortly before taking the stage at a rally in Lake Charles, La.

The announcement has been planned for weeks, sources close to McAleenan say, and has nothing to do with the Ukraine scandal in which Trump and several other Cabinet officials are now enmeshed.

A White House official with knowledge of the decision confirmed that it was McAleenan's decision.

But McAleenan, like others in the job before him, was opposed to an enforcement operation targeting families here illegally who were in the interior of the United States, saying it was not worth the resource drain given the crisis at the border.

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The President appointing hardliners to leadership positions in his department hasn't made his job any easier.

Trump added that he would announce a new acting secretary next week. "That's uncomfortable, as the accountable, senior figure".

Trump elevated McAleenan to serve as acting replacement for Nielsen just days after he said he wanted the administration to go in a "tougher direction" as illegal border crossings had increased. Border apprehensions have declined significantly, numbers that included Central Americans and families crossing the border, representing the heart of the crisis.

McAleenan spent a lot of time south of the border, working on brokering major agreements with Central American countries on asylum, including El Salvador.

"It felt like the layers are now in place to prevent a similar surge sparking this Fall", the source said. In a letter to Congress obtained by ABC News expressing "enthusiastic support" for McAleenan's nomination to lead U.S. Customs and Border Protection, officials from both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama administrations called McAleenan "supremely qualified".

Bersin credited McAleenan's close work with Mexico for helping lower border arrests from May peaks.

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