This Man Created The Policy To Separate Families And Now He Might Be The Head Of DHS
There is news out of Washington that the White House is strongly looking at the possibility of appointing Chad Wolf, the current acting undersecretary for strategy at the Department of Homeland Security and former chief of staff to then-Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, to head DHS. Wolf is among two other candidates being considered for the position, along with Director of the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli and Customs and Border Protection chief Mark Morgan.
It has become apparent that neither of them would likely get the position. This is due to information from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel that concluded that the two aren’t eligible to take the role because they had yet to serve at least 90 days under the last Senate-confirmed Homeland Security secretary, Nielsen.
Since Kevin McAleenan announced his resignation over a week ago, becoming the fourth secretary to serve under the Trump administration, there have been many questions about who will fill the role. During McAleenan’s short tenure, which started in April, there were a handful of controversies including a spike in US-Mexico border apprehensions. This in return led to overcrowding and long stays for migrants under US Border Patrol custody at the southern border.
Now with an opening at the head position, Wolf looks to be the front runner as of now but there are many questions and concerns about his track record.
Who is Chad Wolf and why are so many eyebrows being raised about the possibility of him taking the reins as the head of the Department of Homeland Security?
The possible appointment of Wolf has come with some concerns, mainly because of his central role in the Trump administration’s zero-tolerance policy that led to thousands of children being separated from their parents at the border last year. During his time as acting chief of staff to Secretary Nielsen, Wolf created a list of 16 options that would help deter the number of undocumented immigrants coming to the U.S. border to Gene Hamilton, counselor to then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to overlook. The second suggestion on that list was the plan to “separate family units.”
The controversial family separation policy ended after President Trump exercised executive action in June due to mounting backlash over the immigration deterrence plan. Wolf, who was acting chief of staff to Secretary Nielsen when the policy was in place, would later be questioned about that during his Senate confirmation hearing for his current undersecretary role
“My job wasn’t to determine whether it was the right or wrong policy. My job, at the time, was to ensure that the secretary had all the information,” Wolf said at the confirmation.
While there is some support in the White House to appoint Wolf, there are still some doubts that he can lead the department to the approval of President Trump.
The role of leading DHS is one that comes with a lot of scrutiny, from in and outside the White House. According to NBC News, there is uncertainty among some in the administration that Wolf will be able to lead DHS with the “tough” stance mentality to win over President Trump.
“There’s been no one more committed to the DHS mission and the president’s agenda than Chad, who’s helped implement the policies credited to addressing record levels of illegal crossings at the border,” the senior DHS official told NBC News. “He’s mainly a process guy and played that part to a T as chief of staff to Nielsen,” the official said. “Substantively, he’s an aviation security type with some high-tech related immigration experience. His experience that lines up with [Trump’s] agenda, particularly on border issues, was cobbled together from working for Nielsen.”
Wolf’s beginnings in DHS came at it’s inception shortly after 9/11 when he worked for the Transportation Security Administration and again joined the department after Trump took office in 2016. He has also spent years advocating for “cheap foreign tech workers” as a lobbyist for the National Association of Software and Service Companies, which speaks for Indian and U.S. companies that seek to hire foreign workers with advanced degrees in the H-1B visa program.
“Going with a career official or someone who once lobbied to replace American workers with cheap foreign labor sends the wrong signal right before an election year,” RJ Hauman, government relations director at the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told Politico. “President Trump can choose to be on the side of his base and American workers, or throw in his lot with the swamp.”
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