Before Ouster, Nielsen Blocked Trump Plan For Mass Immigrant Family Arrests

In this photo taken on April 5, 2019, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen waits for US President Donald Trump as he arrives to tour the border wall between the United States and Mexico in Calexico, Califo... In this photo taken on April 5, 2019, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen waits for US President Donald Trump as he arrives to tour the border wall between the United States and Mexico in Calexico, California. - US President Donald Trump on Sunday, April 7, 2019 announced Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, the front-line defender of the administration's controversial immigration policies, would leave her position. "Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service," Trump tweeted. He added US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan would become acting secretary. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
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May 14, 2019 9:02 a.m.

Before Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and top immigration official Ronald Vitiello were ousted last month, they worked to block a planned Trump administration initiative that would have prompted sweeping arrests and deportations of immigrant families in 10 big cities, The Washington Post reported. 

The plan was designed to deter undocumented immigrants from entering the U.S. The government would sign deportation orders for any migrant who didn’t show up to their immigration hearings, seven current and former DHS officials told the Post. The arrests would also have targeted parents with children in the home or in their neighborhoods.

The plan — which would’ve targeted Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City and other cities — was championed by senior adviser Stephen Miller and Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Deputy Director Matthew Albence. They felt the visibility of the arrests would serve as a strong deterrent for more border crossings.

Both Vitiello and Nielsen blocked the plan, expressing concern that the plan was put together too hastily, the likelihood of public outcry was strong and the move would likely take manpower away from protecting the border. The two officials’ resistance to the plan was a factor in their removal last month, an administration official told the Post.

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