Top Trump aide says protected immigrants need path to citizenship

Top Trump aide says protected immigrants need path to citizenship

As the head of the Department of Homeland Security, Nielsen is in charge of the 20,000 employees who work for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

What Trump didn't note when conveying those orders, however, is that the USA has a domestic and worldwide legal obligation to process any immigrant who comes to its borders seeking asylum.

In a statement, Nielsen said she meant to "continue to direct the department to do all we can to implement the president's security-focused agenda".

Trump, she told the Times, is "rightly frustrated that existing loopholes and the lack of congressional action have prevented this administration from fully securing the border". A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security described the Times report as "false".

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, left, speaks with senior White House adviser Jared Kushner at an event where Melania Trump spoke in the Rose Garden of the White House, May 7, 2018. He repeatedly claimed credit for the fact that during his first year in office, illegal border crossings dropped to their lowest levels in decades. A conviction for illegal entry carries a maximum penalty of six months in custody for first-time crossers, though they usually do far less time, and two years for repeat offenses.

At the meeting, Trump railed against her for failing to stop illegal border crossings.

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Hard-liners on immigration say Mr. Trump's anger is partly explained by a suspicion inside the West Wing that Ms. Nielsen, who served on the Homeland Security Council in the George W. Bush administration, is not sufficiently committed to Mr. Trump's agenda of tougher immigration policies.

The Trump administration, under U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, has moved to revoke this special status and to expel tens of thousands of protected immigrants. When members of his Cabinet pointed out that the country relies on day laborers who cross the border each day, Trump said that was fine, but continued to complain, one person said. "We are a country of laws and the president and his administration will enforce them", she responded. The blowup lasted more than 30 minutes, according to a person with knowledge of what transpired, as Trump's face reddened and he raised his voice, saying Nielsen needed to "close down" the border. "I share his frustration", Nielsen said in a statement.

Trump has also been frustrated with Nielsen, according to people familiar with the dynamic.

Kelly said most illegal immigrants in the U.S. today "are not bad people. but they're also not people that would easily assimilate" because they are poorly educated.

According to the New York Times' report, Trump has been angry that Nielsen has been "resisting his direction that parents be separated from their children when families cross illegally into the United States".

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