Trump expects his next DHS secretary to break the law for him — and inflict ‘horrific’ abuse: Ex-US Attorney
President Donald Trump. (Photo: Screengrab)

MSNBC's Mika Brzezinski said President Donald Trump's "nightmare" policies against immigrants and refugees would only get worse under his next Homeland Security secretary.

The "Morning Joe" co-host said outgoing DHS secretary Kirstjen Nielsen had overseen the administration's controversial family separation policy, which the president reportedly wants to reinstate despite substantial legal challenges.

"Looking at the policies ahead, I think legally, this could be a nightmare, as well," Brzezinski said, "and, by the way, it's a policy that's bringing more people toward the border."

Joyce Vance, an MSNBC contributor and former U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama, agreed the family separation policy was ineffective, legally dubious and needlessly cruel.

"It's absolutely terrible policy," Vance said. "A lot of bad factors combined to increase immigration. The president just thinks that by threatening to take kids away from their parents, he can shut it down, but we know there are a lot of factors, including conditions in home countries, that influence this influx of immigration."

Vance said the president understands his anti-immigration policies won't pass legal challenges, but she warned that Trump just doesn't seem to care -- and wants someone to break the law for him.

"The president is right about one thing, that's that he can't seem to win an immigration battle in the courts these days, and that's because he's lined up squarely against the law," she said. "It is, I think, horrific to contemplate where we will be going forward."

"He has fired a DHS secretary, essentially, because she told him she would not violate the law," she continued. "She was willing to do everything else. She was willing to implement border separation between parents and kids, she was willing to go the whole nine yards with him, just not to violate the law."

"By firing her," Vance added, "he signifies he is looking for a new set of leaders at DHS, ones who will be willing to implement his ongoing vision, which involves conflict with the law. The president believes he does not have to comply here."