Trump says acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan is stepping down

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McAleenan also has two young daughters and a wife with whom he wants to spend more time.

"Congratulations Kevin, on a job well done!"

The announcement has been planned for weeks, sources close to McAleenan say, and has nothing to do with the Ukraine scandal in which Trump and several other Cabinet officials are now enmeshed.

President Trump, who has made cracking down on legal and illegal immigration a signature issue of his presidency and 2020 re-election effort, said he and Mr. McAleenan had "worked well together with Border Crossings being way down". But his departure ends an awkward period of leadership - one in which McAleenan delighted Trump by getting border crossing numbers to fall yet remained an outsider in an administration where top figures - including in his own department- were brash Trump supporters popular on conservative media.

Mr McAleenan is the fourth person to serve as the head of Homeland Security during Mr Trump's tenure. I will be announcing the new Acting Secretary next week.

McAleenan took over for Kirstjen Nielsen in April 2019.

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The 240,000-person department is tasked with election security and cybersecurity, disaster response and even the Secret Service.

According to the Los Angeles Times, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan is expected to be selected as McAleenan's replacement. "The El Paso shooting hit close to home", the source said, noting that six of those killed were family members of five agents and officers who work for the Department of Homeland Security.

McAleenan, a longtime U.S. Customs and Border Protection official, was seen as a level head who could effectively manage the border crisis, but like many other former administration officials who came before, Trump eventually soured on him.

Mr Trump had previously threatened to fire Ms Nielsen, who was viewed as resistant to some of the harshest immigration measures supported by the President and his aides, both around the border and on other matters like protected status for some refugees.

Christopher Wilson, deputy director of the Wilson Center's Mexico Institute in Washington said people are questioning what McAleenan stands for, "questioning why he went along with the Trump administration and some of the things they did, but I believe he was a professional", he said.

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