Kirstjen Nielsen’s Resignation Spurs a Petition

On April 7, Kirstjen Nielsen resigned from her position as Secretary of Homeland Security in President Trump’s administration. The most well-known policies during her time in the Department of Homeland Security was the “zero tolerance policy,” the end of temporary protected status for over 200,000 immigrants and the indefinite detention of immigrant families. The “zero tolerance policy” was most notable of the three as it actively accosted all foreign adults crossing illegally at the border, regardless of asylum-seeker status or if they had minor children with them. This gave way to what was known as “family separation” in spring of last year, in which adults were prosecuted and taken in criminal custody for crossing illegally and their children were then labeled as “unaccompanied minors.” This policy of family separation was finally ended by a federal judge, Dana M. Sabraw, on June 27, 2018, to reunite all children within 30 days with their families.

Nielsen at her Senate confirmation hearing in December 2017

Courtesy: Getty Images


Now that Nielsen has been forced to resign from her position, many are not eager to welcome her to the private sector. Henry Farrell, a political scientist at George Washington University, has started a petition, as reported by Vox. Farrell has stated that he wants no association with the former Secretary of Homeland Security due to his disdain for her immigration policies. His petition holds relevance as former administration officials typically take jobs in “intelligentsia,” such as respected “think tanks” or university positions. The petition is predicted to have little impact on Nielsen’s employability in her next career. Although the intent of the petition is strongly worded, the amount of people that have signed at this point is too small to make a difference.

As reported by Politico, Nielsen is trying to “rehab her image.” Her “allies” have begun presenting the view that she was not an “enabler,” but rather a “guardrail” against the administration’s extreme agenda. Former Homeland Security official during the George W. Bush administration, Thad Bingel, believes that Nielsen was treated unjustly.

“I think Nielsen has been treated unfairly. A caricature was created by people who oppose the way the President talks about immigration or who even oppose current immigration law that’s been on the books for decades — and that caricature is nothing like the person she actually is,” states Bingel (Politico).

His quote suggests that Nielsen was misunderstood in her intent and involvement in creating and implementing policy. Bingel urges that the public’s perception of her is skewed due to their own dislike for President Trump’s immigration rhetoric or decades-old immigration law as is.

Courtesy: HuffPost


Karl Frisch, a spokesman for Restore Public Trust, feels that she should pay a price for her policies. “She deserves accountability. She doesn’t deserve a big fat paycheck,” states Frisch (Politico). Restore Public Trust, in addition to a slew of other organizations, has published an open letter to major American corporations in an effort to dissuade the employment of Nielsen. Restore Public Trust is also planning to release a series of “digital ads” regarding Nielsen and the Trump administration’s involvement in the “zero tolerance policy,” aimed at Fortune 500, Wall Street and K Street companies.

Nielsen’s career as Secretary of Homeland Security may be dead, but the dissent of public interest groups is alive and well.