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Four Senators Vote No on Nielsen Confirmation, Question Lack of Independence From White House After Political Interference On Immigration Decision

 

Senator Hassan “was troubled by a report in The Washington Post last week that Mr. Kelly had called acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke to try to pressure her into a decision not to renew a temporary humanitarian protection for would-be illegal immigrants from Honduras.”

Tonight, four members of the Senate committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs – Senators Tom Carper of Delaware, Kamala Harris of California, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Gary Peters of Michigan –  voted against the confirmation of Homeland Security Secretary nominee Kirstjen Nielsen. These same members previously signed a letter expressing concern about reports that Nielsen’s mentor and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had attempted to strong arm Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Duke into deporting 57,000 Hondurans with Temporary Protected Status (TPS).

A Washington Times piece covering the vote can be accessed here, and excerpts follow:

The Washington Times: Committee clears Trump’s pick to lead DHS

The Senate Homeland Security Committee voted Tuesday to approve Kirstjen Nielsen as the next Homeland Security secretary, overcoming objections from Democrats who said she lacked leadership experience and didn’t appear to be independent enough from the White House….

Three other Democrats — Sens. Kamala Harris of California, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Gary Peters of Michigan — also voted against Ms. Nielsen.

Ms. Hassan said she was troubled by a report in The Washington Post last week that Mr. Kelly had called acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke to try to pressure her into a decision not to renew a temporary humanitarian protection for would-be illegal immigrants from Honduras. Ms. Duke ended up punting on the decision, saying she needed more information before deciding whether to extend Temporary Protected Status for tens of thousands of Hondurans.

Ms. Hassan said she wanted Ms. Nielsen to be called back to the committee to testify again under oath about her commitment to being independent of the Trump White House, where her current boss, Mr. Kelly, remains a powerful figure.