Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Elaine Duke reportedly plans to resign in protest over pressure from White House officials to expel tens of thousands of citizens of Honduras who are staying in the United States under protected status.
The Washington Post reports that White House chief of staff John Kelly called Duke into his office this week to pressure her to expel Hondurans who came to the United States as hurricane refugees.
“Duke refused to reverse her decision and was angered by what she felt was a politically driven intrusion by Kelly and Tom Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser, who also called her about the matter,” the Post’s sources claim.
The publication’s sources also say that Duke “has informed Kelly she plans to resign” in the wake of this week’s incident.
Duke announced Monday that she was terminating Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation for Nicaraguan refugees who fled to the United States after Hurricane Mitch. But she made no determination regarding Hondurans, automatically granting them a six month extension.
Although Kelly told Duke that she was responsible for making the final decision on extending the refugees’ residency permits, Duke still felt that it was an inappropriate intrusion into her work.
“They put massive pressure on her,” one administration official, who was familiar with the interactions between Duke and White House officials, told the Post.
Duke had wanted to proceed carefully with the case, as the Honduran refugees in question have now lived in the United States for two decades now.