Kevin McAleenan has been named to head — at least temporarily — the federal Department of Homeland Security following the abrupt resignation of Kirstjen Nielsen on Sunday.

McAleenan, as we’ve reported a couple of times, was born and partly raised in Honolulu.

And while he may bring the Aloha Spirit to the beleaguered agency and it’s struggle to deal with a flood of immigrants at the southern border not to mention President Trump’s push to build a $6 billion wall at the border, most political observers don’t think he’ll be in position long enough to have much of an impact.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan meets with CBP employees and surveys the damage wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, October 5, 2017. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Photo by Mani Albrecht

In October 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan met with CBP employees and surveys the damage wrought by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection

McAleenan, a lawyer, was first brought to Customs and Border Protection by President Barack Obama. He has made his views on human dignity and humanitarianism in dealing with undocumented immigrants well known, as The Washington Post reported this morning.

He was named commissioner of CBP in 2017 by Trump. He was supported by Gov. David Ige and then-Attorney General Doug Chin, who was in the midst of a beef with the Tump administration over the so-called Muslim travel ban. Read our coverage of his nomination here.

He also had strong support from Hawaii Sen. Mazie Hirono when he was confirmed to the top CBP post by the Senate in 2018. Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz, however, was skeptical and voted against him.

Did we mention McAleenan’s middle name is Kealoha?

About the Author