Kirstjen Nielsen Confirmed as Homeland Security Secretary

Kirstjen Nielsen / Getty Images

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Trump nominee and White House deputy chief of staff Kirstjen Nielsen to lead the Department of Homeland Security.

Nielsen was confirmed by a 62-37 vote the Associated Press reported.

For the first six months of the Trump administration, Nielsen served as chief of staff to then Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a fact many Republican senators used to endorse her nomination.

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson (R., Wisc.) said Nielsen "is ready to answer this call to duty. She has been working in and around the Department of Homeland Security since its creation."

An attorney and cybersecurity expert, Nielsen will be the first DHS secretary with previous experience working at the agency, according to the Washington Post.

Some Democrats, on the other hand, complained Nielsen lacks the experience needed to run a major agency, and cited concerns over Trump administration policy.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) criticized Nielsen for playing a role in the development of Trump's travel ban and a failure to acknowledge how humans contribute to climate change, according to the AP.

Nielsen said at her confirmation hearing last month that climate change is a "crucial issue," noting the Trump administration is revising its climate models to better respond to rising sea level, but said the human impact on climate change is not fully understood.

"I can’t unequivocally state it’s caused by humans," she said. "There are many contributions to it."

The newly confirmed secretary also pledged during her confirmation hearing to continue implementing Trump's aggressive immigration agenda.

Nielsen will take over from Acting Secretary Elaine Duke who has been serving in the role since July when Kelly left to take over as White House chief of staff.