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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

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
3 mins ago - Economy & Business

First glimpse of the Biden market

Photo: Jonathan Ernst-Pool/Getty Images

Investors made clear what companies they think will be winners and which will be losers in President Joe Biden's economy on Wednesday, selling out of gun makers, pot purveyors, private prison operators and payday lenders, and buying up gambling, gaming, beer stocks and Big Tech.

What happened: Private prison operator CoreCivic and private prison REIT Geo fell by 7.8% and 4.1%, respectively, while marijuana ETF MJ dropped 2% and payday lenders World Acceptance and EZCorp each fell by more than 1%.

Mike Allen, author of AM
35 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Biden-Harris, Day 1: What mattered most

President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden arrive at the North Portico of the White House. Photo: Alex Brandon-Pool/Getty Images

The Axios experts help you sort significance from symbolism. Here are the six Day 1 actions by President Biden that matter most.

Driving the news: Today, on his first full day, Biden translates his promise of a stronger federal response to the pandemic into action — starting with 10 executive orders and other directives, Caitlin Owens writes.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Read: Pete Buttigieg's opening statement ahead of confirmation hearing

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to be secretary of transportation, in December. Photo: Kevin Lamarque/AFP via Getty Images

Pete Buttigieg, President Biden's nominee to lead the Transportation Department, will tell senators he plans to prioritize the health and safety of public transportation systems during the pandemic — and look to infrastructure projects to rebuild the economy — according to a copy of his prepared remarks obtained by Axios.

Driving the news: Buttigieg will testify at 10 a.m. ET before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. He is expected to face a relatively smooth confirmation process, though GOP lawmakers may press him on "green" elements of Biden's transportation proposals.