Victory: DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan resigns

Activism works, and here’s the proof: After a sustained campaign by CREDO and our allies, which included tens of thousands of petition signatures from our members, high-profile protests and significant national press coverage, acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan, one of Donald Trump’s most cruel henchmen, resigned.

During his time as head of CBP, an agency that has killed at least seven children in its custody since 2018, McAleenan oversaw the Clint, Texas, facility with its unsanitary and cruel conditions and unleashed border agents to tear gas refugee families, including children in diapers, at the border. As head of DHS, he enforced and championed policies that perpetuate family separation and state-sanctioned child abuse. He withheld information and intentionally misled Congress about the administration’s systematic circumvention of migrants’ due process rights. 

Direct action by CREDO activists played a significant role in McAleenan’s resignation. Last year, after 7-year-old Jakelin Caal Maquin tragically died in CBP custody, CREDO activists gathered outside then-commissioner McAleenan’s home to confront him about his agency’s horrific human rights abuses. Protesters projected images of the three asylum seekers on McAleenan’s home and demanded that he resign immediately.

Then, in October, CREDO activists joined with Justice for Muslims Collective, La Colectiva, National Immigrant Justice Center and Sanctuary DMV to disrupt McAleenan’s controversial keynote speech at the annual Immigration Law and Policy Conference at Georgetown University Law Center. 

We held banners reading “Stand with immigrants” and “Hate is not normal” while chanting “When immigrants are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!” Members of the audience joined in, and GULC students also read the names of children who died in Customs and Border Patrol’s custody.

When McAleenan tried to speak, we spoke louder, because no Trump henchmen should be given a platform to spread hatred or defend Trump’s racist, xenophobic policies. Our protest forced McAleenan off stage and made headlines across the country, with coverage in the New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Today, the Associated Press, Telemundo, CBS Evening News, Buzzfeed News, AJ+ and The Young Turks.

Just four days after our Georgetown protest, McAleenan submitted his letter of resignation and much of the media coverage referenced our protest. 

Thank you to our progressive partners and you, our CREDO members, for this hard-fought victory.