Acting US homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan steps down

McAleenan became fourth person to lead agency under Donald Trump in April

In this file photo taken on July 18th, 2019, of former US acting secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

In this file photo taken on July 18th, 2019, of former US acting secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan. Photograph: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

 

US president Donald Trump said on Friday that acting homeland security secretary Kevin McAleenan was stepping down and a new acting chief of the agency would be named next week.

Mr McAleenan became the fourth person to lead the agency under Mr Trump in April after the Republican president asked for the resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen.

Before becoming acting secretary, Mr McAleenan served as commissioner of US customs and border protection, one of the agencies operating under the department of homeland security (DHS).

“Kevin now, after many years in Government, wants to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector,” Mr Trump said on Twitter.

“I will be announcing the new Acting Secretary next week. Many wonderful candidates,” he said.

Mr Trump, who has made cracking down on legal and illegal immigration a signature issue of his presidency and 2020 re-election effort, said he and Mr McAleenan had “worked well together with Border Crossings being way down.”

Despite the praise, Mr Trump never formally nominated Mr McAleenan to run the agency.

In a statement, Mr McAleenan said during his six-month tenure DHS had “made tremendous progress mitigating the border security and humanitarian crisis we faced this year.”

US customs and border protection said this week that arrests at the US-Mexico border fell in September for the fourth month in the row.

It said there were just over 52,000 migrants either apprehended or encountered at the southwest border in September, down almost 65 per cent from a peak in May of 144,000.

The bulk of arriving migrants are from Central America, many of them families, fleeing situations of violence and poverty at home and often seeking asylum in the United States.–Reuters