Former top Homeland Security official is leaving the Trump administration

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesActing U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke pauses while briefing reporters following a meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, September 28, 2017 in Washington, DC.
  • Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke is reportedly stepping down in April.
  • Duke briefly became acting secretary of the department after John Kelly took on a new role as White House chief of staff.
  • Duke is believed to have expressed reservations over a controversial immigration policy after being pressured by Kelly in November.

Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Elaine Duke is stepping down from her position in April, according to multiple news reports on Friday.

“Elaine has selflessly served the federal government for three decades, and this Department for more than 10 years spanning multiple secretaries,” Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement, according to CNN. “The department greatly benefited from her expert knowledge and understanding of DHS issues – particularly with respect to procurement, personnel and management.”

Duke, who briefly served as acting secretary of the department when John Kelly took on his currently role as White House chief of staff, took on various government jobs under several presidential administrations for almost 30 years.

Duke also oversaw the devastating natural disasters in the US, including Hurricanes Maria and Harvey. During her tenure as acting secretary, she was criticised after suggesting the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico was a “good news story,” CNN reported.

As acting secretary, Duke was also reportedly pressured by Kelly to revoke protections and expel tens of thousands of Honduran immigrants residing in the US. After receiving multiple calls from Kelly, the experience left Duke “distraught and disappointed,” according to a CNN report in November.

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