Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said Nielsen brings valuable, practical experience to DHS.
Democrats complained that Nielsen lacks the experience needed to run a major agency with 240,000 employees. She will take over from Acting Secretary Elaine Duke, who filled the top job in a temporary capacity for more than four months, longer than any DHS chief in the agency's 15-year history.
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Sens. Chris Coons (D-Del.), Joe Manchin (D-W.V.), Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), Mark Warner (D-Va.) were among those who voted alongside their Republican colleagues to confirm the former principal deputy to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly as the new DHS secretary. "She has yet to acknowledge the overwhelming scientific consensus that human behavior contributes to climate change, even as states like California face the increasing threats of wildfires, floods, and rising sea levels".
Nielsen comes to the job largely on the power of his endorsement.
Kirstjen Nielsen, President Donald Trump's nominee to be Secretary of Homeland Security.
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The decision came three weeks after the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved Nielsen's nomination and almost two months after President Donald Trump selected her for the DHS post.
Despite increasing prominence in the national conversation, cybersecurity was a secondary topic during Nielsen's confirmation hearing. DHS has 22 subagencies, including everything from immigration enforcement, transportation security, disaster preparedness and response to the Secret Service and the Coast Guard.
"Ms. Nielsen has been engaged in counterterrorism, all-hazard risk mitigation, critical infrastructure protection, and response policy from the earliest days of what we now know as homeland security", the former officials wrote in a letter to the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on September 5 that the DACA program will end in six months, giving Congress time to find a legislative solution for people enrolled in the program.