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Underwood reacts to Nielsen ousting as Homeland Security secretary

Rep. Lauren Underwood answers a question as Rep. Sean Casten listens to her answer Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, during a town hall meeting at McHenry County College’s Luecht Conference Center.
Rep. Lauren Underwood answers a question as Rep. Sean Casten listens to her answer Monday, Feb. 18, 2019, during a town hall meeting at McHenry County College’s Luecht Conference Center.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, publicly responded to the news of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen leaving her post over the weekend.

President Donald Trump announced Nielsen’s resignation via Twitter on Sunday.

As the vice chair of the Committee on Homeland Security, Underwood questioned Nielsen at a meeting about the separating of migrant children from their families after crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. As a health care professional, Underwood attempted to highlight whether or not Nielsen and DHS were aware of the longterm harm the policy could cause.

“When I questioned Secretary Nielsen in the Homeland Security Committee just last month, it was clear she either did not know the extent of the consequences of the department’s policies, including what family separation is doing to children’s mental and physical health, or knew and continued anyway,” Underwood said in a statement.

Trump said U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan would be taking over as acting head of the department. McAleenan is a respected, longtime border official in the administration. Underwood said “the next leader of the Department of Homeland Security should lead with American values, and I stand ready to work with him.”

Underwood spent last weekend at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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