Kevin McAleenan, the present commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Safety will briefly lead the Division of Homeland Safety (DHS) within the wake of DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s resignation. Not like Nielsen, McAleenan has overtly rebuked President Donald Trump’s immigration insurance policies.
After Trump’s Muslim Ban went into impact in early 2017, McAleenan obtained DHS to authorize his authority to grant waivers to immigrant and non-immigrant visa holders trapped in airports because of the chief order. In keeping with the inspector common report on the Muslim Ban, McAleenan obtained very concerned and granted waiver requests as quick as he might.
“Primarily based on our evaluation of waiver requests that had been elevated to McAleenan between 7:45 and 9:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, McAleenan accepted 9 distinctive waiver requests a mean of three.25 minutes after the requests reached his inbox,” the report reads. “By 2:30 p.m., the Performing Commissioner had accepted roughly 75 nationwide curiosity waivers for [immigrant visa] and [non-immigrant visa] holders.”
Whereas Trump threatened to chop assist to Central American nations in response to an inflow of asylum-seeking households from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala, McAleenan repeatedly burdened the significance of assist to handle the “root causes” of migration.
Talking in December about Central American safety and migration, McAleenan mentioned at a panel hosted by the Council of the Americas that he and his colleagues have been “very conscious of making certain that these investments are focused and that they’re making an impression for U.S. coverage” and “lowering migration flows” to the U.S.-Mexico border.
In July, McAleenan informed the Bipartisan Coverage Heart that the USA mustn’t “shrink back from investing closely in our partnerships in Central America.”
“We’ve obtained three good companions within the administrations there,” he mentioned. “Should you take a look at El Salvador, the migration degree from El Salvador has lowered 65 % this 12 months. What they’re doing is working each on the safety entrance and on the financial alternative entrance […] We wish to obtain those self same successes in Honduras and Guatemala as nicely.”
Whereas these extra pragmatic immigration positions have scored him some brownie factors with the press and can doubtless put him at odds with Trump, McAleenan has additionally been complicit in a number of the administration’s most draconian insurance policies.
In December, two younger kids underneath the age of the seven died in CBP custody, together with Jakelin Caal Maquin from Guatemala. McAleenan didn’t notify Congress of Jakelin’s dying days earlier than he confronted questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee the place he might have been pressed on the problem. An post-mortem report confirmed Jakelin died from an an infection often known as streptococcal sepsis. It took 90 minutes for her to obtain medical care from CBP brokers after her father notified officers of her signs.
In keeping with McAleenan, the reasoning behind that call was to not “politicize” the dying.
At a separate Senate Judiciary listening to in March, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) pressed McAleenan on studies of kid abuse at immigrant youth shelters run by the Division of Well being and Human Providers and its contractors.
“Do you consider that you’ve any responsibility, or that your company has any responsibility to make sure that whenever you switch these kids to the custody to a different company that they are going to be protected?” requested Harris.
“I’m mandated by regulation to switch these kids,” McAleenan deflected. “I don’t have a capability to query it.”
Nielsen’s resignation comes as apprehensions alongside the U.S.-Mexico border have but to achieve its yearly excessive. In keeping with CBP knowledge, apprehensions usually peak in Might.
Because the company prepares for this time of 12 months, McAleenan will be part of the six different “appearing” officers at DHS. Final week, President Trump pulled the nomination of Ron Vitiello to guide Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in favor of somebody “harder.” White Home senior advisor Stephen Miller, who has a historical past of utilizing anti-immigrant and white supremacist dog-whistles, reportedly prompt the change to Trump. Different prime immigration officers rumored to be on their means out embody the pinnacle of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Providers Lee Cissna, Secret Service director Randolph Alles, and John Mitnik, the company’s common counsel.
The slimmed-down DHS workers is emblematic of Trump’s patchwork cupboard, which is filled with appearing administrators and appearing secretaries after a collection of resignations and firings.