Senate confirms new DHS chief

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Kirstjen Nielsen to be secretary of Homeland Security, permanently filling the vacancy created when President Donald Trump selected retired Gen. John Kelly to be his chief of staff.

Nielsen's successful nomination makes her the second woman, after Janet Napolitano, to be confirmed to the position.

Part of her responsibilities will include hiring 15,000 new agents for Immigration and Customs Enforcement and Border Patrol, an agency that reportedly sees quick turnover among its employees.

And in a statement released after the Senate confirmed Nielsen, Sen.

Nielsen, 45, is a lawyer and veteran of the national security sector.

An attorney and cybersecurity expert, Nielsen will be the first DHS secretary with previous experience working at the agency.

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Nielsen Will Oversee Efforts to Secure Federal IT and Critical InfrastructureEric Chabrow (GovInfoSecurity) • December 5, 2017 Kirstjen Nielsen with President Trump on the day he nominated her as DHS secretary. "Throughout her confirmation process, Ms. Nielsen failed to demonstrate that she would provide the steady, experienced leadership - free from political interference from the White House - that the department needs".

Nielsen's "work in and around the department since its creation, as well as her knowledge of cybersecurity, risk management and critical infrastructure, should serve her well in confronting the daunting threats to our homeland", said Sen.

Frank Sharry, executive director of America's Voice Education Fund, which promotes immigrants' rights, said Trump has worked to punish immigrants and refugees, from his call to build a wall along the Mexican border to the partial travel ban to raids against immigrants.

Nielsen said at her confirmation hearing last month that climate change is a "crucial issue", noting the Trump administration is revising its climate models to better respond to rising sea level, but said the human impact on climate change is not fully understood. "There are many contributions to it".

Stewart Baker a former DHS assistant secretary for policy during the George W. Bush administration, credits Nielsen as being a significant force in cybersecurity policymaking at DHS during the early months of the Trump administration.

When asked for her views on the utility of a border wall with Mexico, she echoed comments made previously by Kelly that the United States did not need a 2,000-mile physical barrier "from sea to shining sea".

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