The White House plans to remove more top leaders of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), an official familiar with the matter said on Tuesday, with President Donald Trump dissatisfied by their ability to advance his immigration crackdown.
The department's acting No.
2 official, Claire Grady, could leave as soon as Tuesday afternoon, the source said.
Administration officials were also trying to push out the department's General Counsel John Mitnick, and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Francis Cissna, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
In comments to reporters at the White House, Trump said he never said he was cleaning house at the DHS and that his administration was fighting "bad laws" on immigration.
The personnel changes were likely to further destabilize the U.S. domestic security agency as it struggles to cope with a surge of immigrants along the U.S.-Mexico border, a topic Trump made a prominent feature of his 2016 election campaign and during the more than two years he has been president.
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen announced her resignation on Sunday after a meeting with Trump in which the two disagreed on the best way to handle border security.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan is due to take Nielsen's place on a temporary basis, starting on Wednesday.
Trump has interviewed several candidates for the top job over the past week and a half, including former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, former Virginia attorney general Ken Cuccinelli, and former acting Immigrations and Customs Enforcement head Thomas Homan.
All three have expressed hard-line views on illegal immigration.
The Secret Service, also a part of DHS, said on Monday that its chief Randolph "Tex" Alles would depart his job next month, although this was not seen as related to Trump's aggressive immigration agenda.