The Department of Homeland Security will oversee the construction of President Trump’s beloved border wall, protect the nation from terrorists, and deport illegal immigrants.
However, since John Kelly’s departure on July 31 to serve as White House chief of staff, the vital cabinet department has been without a Senate-confirmed leader.
Below are several possibilities for who Trump could nominate to serve as the next DHS Secretary.
Acting DHS Secretary Elaine Duke
Duke is a career bureaucrat and was initially seen as more of a temporary replacement until the president nominated someone new. However, an op-ed by Duke Tuesday in USA Today titled “Homeland Security secretary: Border walls work. Yuma sector proves it,” ahead of Trump’s visit to Arizona signaled political ambitions, according to a source involved the immigration reductionist movement.
Duke has worked in both Democratic and Republican administrations and was previously confirmed in 2008 by a Democratic-controlled Senate to serve as the DHS’s under secretary for management. She could be a shoo-in if nominated, although Duke leading the department might not please immigration hardliners.
Acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Thomas Homan
President Trump is a fan of the tough-talking Homan, who told The Daily Caller that his “gang is bigger” than MS-13. Trump appreciates this attitude and said during a July event, “And I can only say to Tom: Keep up the great work. He’s a tough guy. He’s a tough cookie. Somebody said the other day, they saw him on television, and somebody — they were interviewed after that; they said, he looks very nasty, he looks very mean. I said, that’s what I’m looking for.”
An immigration hawk TheDC spoke to likes Homan, and the Center for Immigration Studies’ Mark Krikorian pointed out in article for National Review that the ICE director is already vetted.
However, he added, “The downside would be that Senate Democrats would make his confirmation hearing a circus, trotting out every enforcement sob story they can find, though that wouldn’t matter in the end if the Republicans stick together.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter has been displeased with several facets of the Trump presidency, but a Kobach nomination for DHS Secretary would put her over the moon. She tweeted recently that “Only Kris Kobach!!!” should be considered for the position.
Kobach won the adoration of immigration hawks due to his work in immigration law, including the drafting of an Arizona state bill that made it a misdemeanor for an immigrant to be in Arizona without carrying required documents. Although, this would make his confirmation process rather difficult.
In addition, Kobach is running for Kansas governor and it is unknown if he would drop out of the race.
Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul
McCaul’s name has been floated for the position, and would be a moderate pick for President Trump as opposed to Kobach or Homan. The Texas congressman has introduced several immigration bills in the past, but none have curried favor with immigration hawks, one of whom described his nomination as a “non-starter.”
Roy Beck, founder and president of NumbersUSA, told TheDC: “In the first half of his career after coming to Congress in 2005, Rep. McCaul tended to earn ‘A’ grades from NumbersUSA for pro-American worker immigration actions. But in the second half as he has moved toward the inner circle of Republican leadership and its connections to cheap-labor lobbyists, Rep. McCaul’s grades have slipped badly; his actions in recent years put him in the bottom third of Republican representatives in terms of immigration enforcement and policies that achieve Pres. Trump’s priority of putting American workers first.”