Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen leaving administration

Current Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen is resigning her position after a previously unremarked but scheduled meeting at the White House on Sunday.

Nielsen advocated for strong cybersecurity defence and often said she believed the next major terror attack would occur online - not by planes or bombs.

A senior White House official told Axios's Jonathan Swan that Trump wasn't satisfied with Nielsen, and asked for her resignation.

Trump nominated Nielsen to be DHS secretary in October 2017.

"Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen will be leaving her position, and I would like to thank her for her service", he wrote.

CBS had reported Sunday, citing a senior USA official, that the overhaul of Homeland Security and its subsidiary agencies such as ICE is being orchestrated by top Trump adviser Stephen Miller.

Arrests all along the southern border have skyrocketed in recent months.

At the Department of Homeland Security, Nielsen replaced Kelly, who left the department to take over as Trump's chief of staff. Trump announced Kelly's departure in early December, CNN reported, but Nielsen remained in her role.

She didn't then, and went on to become one of the public faces of a controversial policy that separated undocumented children from their parents.

When Kelly moved to the West Wing as chief of staff, Nielsen followed, becoming a deputy chief of staff tasked with helping Kelly bring rigor to a freewheeling staff. She was heckled in restaurants as the policy came under criticism. Nielsen was seen as Kelly's protegee.

Nielsen, 46, is among the longest-serving Cabinet heads in the Trump administration, and leads the federal government's third-biggest department, the Los Angeles Times reported last week in an article on how Nielsen had - for 15 months - "succeeded in holding onto her job, defying numerous reports that Trump had chose to fire her".

  • Jon Douglas