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Delaware's senators react to DHS Sec. Nielsen's resignation

Sarah Mueller
Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s senators reacted Monday to the departure of former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.

Sen. Chris Coons said Nielsen will be known for what he calls the Trump administration’s cruel policy of separating immigrant families at the U.S. - Mexico border. He spoke on CNN.

Coons said it gives him pause that Nielsen wasn’t extreme enough for President Donald Trump.

Trump appointed the Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan as acting DHS secretary.

Sen. Tom Carper said he’s concerned Trump is replacing several Senate-confirmed Cabinet members with acting officials.

“You need Senate confirmed leadership, you need continuity in leadership," he said. "And I’m disappointed with the kind of turmoil that we’re seeing with the leadership changes being made.”

Carper said the cabinet officials are there without the advice and consent of the Senate.

"We have this system of checks and balances where presidents nominate people to serve as cabinet secretaries and senior positions," he said. "And the Senate gets a chance to have a voice as well. And right now, the voice of the Senate is not being heard.”

The acting officials are able to fill those roles for certain lengths of time without Senate confirmation.

The head of the Secret Service was also fired and replaced with someone who will fill the role in an acting capacity. Inside Homeland Security, the top jobs at Federal Emergency Management Agency, Immigration and Customs Enforcement are currently vacant. The undersecretary of Science and Technology is also unfilled.

Coons said the number of acting secretaries at large departments is striking.

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