As a group of Central American migrants seeking asylum in the USA approached the border in recent weeks, Trump directed Nielsen not to let the so-called "caravan" into the country.
Frustrated by lawmakers who have prevented him from building a wall on the southern border, and by laws preventing him from deporting more migrants from the United States, Donald Trump has recently lashed out in anger at his subordinates and in rallies, fulminating over his inability to execute his sweeping campaign promises to keep more immigrants out of the country.
Nielsen, 45, who was named to the post after John Kelly was named chief of staff, oversees 20,000 border agents through Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
In early April, Trump repeatedly expressed frustration Homeland Security was "not doing enough to close loopholes that were allowing illegal immigrants to flood into the country", the Times disclosed. "We are a country of laws and the president and his administration will enforce them", she responded.
Nielsen, the Times reported, "told associates after the meeting that she should not continue in the job if the president did not view her as effective". A separate White House official confirmed that Trump exploded over immigration in front of the Cabinet. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to disclose private conversations.
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The New York Times and Politico reported that Nielsen, who began the job in December, drafted a resignation letter.
President Trump and Nielsen have "clashed for weeks about his belief that more should be done to secure the border".
"I share his frustration", she added. A spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security described the Times report as "false".
But Mexico refused to pay for the wall, and despite Trump's efforts to limit undocumented immigration, the rate of attempted border crossings may have risen - estimates show that in April, US Border Patrol agents apprehended almost 40,000 people in March, or a 200% increase from 2017.
Trump has pursued his crackdown on legal and illegal immigration since becoming president, promising to strengthen the nation's borders and to build a wall along the US-Mexico border.
Trump's entire cabinet reportedly bore witness to the scolding, which the Times says made up just a portion of a long rant about how the administration on the whole was falling short of its stated goal to tighten border security and curb illegal immigration. A conviction for illegal entry carries a maximum penalty of six months in custody for first-time crossers, though they usually do far less time, and two years for repeat offenses.
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