In July, President Trump elevated Gen. Kelly from his initial cabinet position, Secretary of Homeland Security, to Chief of Staff. Despite plenty of time for golfing, the President then waited three months to nominate a new Secretary of Homeland Security. Finally, in October, the President nominated Kirstjen M. Nielsen for the position.
The Department of Homeland Security oversees, among other sub-agencies, USCIS. USCIS, of course, reviews nonimmigrant and immigrant visa petitions.
Earlier this week, the Senate confirmed the nomination by the smallest margin ever for the position, 62 to 37. For comparison’s sake, Gen. Kelly received 88 votes in favor and only 11 against, when he was approved by the Senate earlier this year.
Ms. Nielsen reportedly comes with baggage. She is caught up in an ethics complaint. The allegation is that she used a private consultant to help guide her through the Senate review process. The consultant, in turn, will now be seeking millions in federal contracts from Ms. Nielsen.
She reportedly was also not highly regarded at her prior two positions in the White House and at DHS. Axios said that on Ms. Nielsen,
“Nielsen is not a beloved figure at DHS; just as she wasn't inside the White House. She has a very sharp-elbowed approach to doing business and doesn't command anywhere near the respect that her predecessor, Kelly, did, according to more than half a dozen sources who've worked with her.”