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Kevin McAleenan, acting secretary for the Department of Homeland Security. Photo: Zach Gibson/Getty Images

President Trump elevated Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, to acting secretary of homeland security following Kirstjen Nielsen’s abrupt resignation Sunday evening.

The bottom line: McAleenan has now been thrust further into the bitter escalating fight over Trump's immigration policies and put in charge of some of the president's key hardline initiatives, including a push for a long-promised border wall and a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Catch up quick
  • McAleenan joined CBP agency in 2001 and served under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Before joining the Trump administration in January 2017 as the agency's acting commissioner, he served as deputy commissioner under President Obama.
  • He is "generally well-liked by leaders in both parties and is viewed as a neutral, technocratic law enforcement official, rather than an immigration hawk," per the Washington Post. He received a 2015 Presidential Rank Award, the country’s highest civil service prize.
  • The Senate confirmed his nomination in March of last year to lead the CBP, in a 77-19 vote.
  • But his nomination was delayed for three months amid allegations of misconduct that were eventually dismissed and cleared of wrongdoing, NBC News reported at the time. Anonymous accusers reportedly alleged that McAleenan had an affair with a subordinate and sidestepped procedures to fund an immigration detention center.
  • McAleenan has been responsible for identifying designs and locations for Trump’s long-promised border wall.
  • He told reporters in El Paso, Texas, last month that the country’s immigration enforcement system along the southern boundary was at "the breaking point," as the number of immigrant families attempting to cross the U.S. border with Mexico continues to spike. He called on Congress to act, but notably did not mention the border wall.

Worth noting: With McAleenan's appointment, Trump now has an acting homeland security secretary, defense secretary, interior secretary and chief of staff.

The latest: Nielsen said in a tweet Sunday night she had agreed to stay on as homeland security secretary until Wednesday "to assist with an orderly transition and ensure that key DHS missions are not impacted."

Go deeper

German elections: After close result, jockeying to replace Merkel begins

Data: Preliminary results from German Federal Returning Officer; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) pulled off a come-from-behind victory in Sunday’s elections, 10 seats ahead of the Christian Democrats (CDU), which failed to finish top for the first time in 16 years.

State of play: SPD leader Olaf Scholz has said he’ll seek to form a government, but so too has Armin Laschet, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successor as CDU leader.

2 hours ago - Health

Biden gets COVID-19 booster shot on live television

President Biden received a Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine booster shot on live television on Monday, while also urging Americans to get vaccinated.

Driving the news: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week recommended Pfizer booster shots for millions of people, including those 65 years and older and individuals at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, wins unconditional release

John Hinckley Jr. sitting on the back seat of a car in 1981. Photo: Bettmann/Getty Images

A federal judge on Monday approved the unconditional release of John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate former President Reagan in 1981.

State of play: U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington ruled that Hinckley can be freed from all court supervision in 2022 if he remains mentally stable and continues to follow rules that were imposed on him after he was released from a Washington mental health facility in 2016 to live in Virginia, AP reports.