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Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff Karen Olick resigns

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Department of Homeland Security chief of staff Karen Olick resigns as the department grapples with the migrant crisis on the southern border and an influx of 100,000 Afghan refugees

  • Karen Olick announced Monday that she was leaving for an unknown opportunity
  • Jennifer Higgins, who works at USCIS, joins as temporary chief of staff
  • Olick’s replacement is a career officer who has worked in the federal government for nearly 20 years, while Olick came from SKDK










Homeland Security Secretary of Staff Alejandro Mayorkas has resigned as DHS works to address a migrant crisis on its southern border and a sudden influx of tens of thousands of Afghan refugees.

Karen Olick announced Monday that she was leaving for a secret opportunity, according to Politico.

Jennifer Higgins, the current associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations at US Citizenship and Immigration Services, will serve as temporary chief of staff after Olick leaves late this month.

Mayorkas told DHS officials in an email that Olick “has decided to step down from her position and pursue new opportunities. We are grateful to Karen for her efforts during the critical first nine months of the new administration.”

In addition to vetting tens of thousands of Afghan refugees evacuated from Kabul last month and hosting an unprecedented flow of migrants on its southern border, DHS is also taking the lead in responding to the impact of Hurricane Ida.

Karen Olick, above, Chief of Staff for DHS Sec. Mayorkas, announced Monday that she would be leaving for an undisclosed occasion

Jennifer Higgins, above, current associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will serve as temporary chief of staff after Olick leaves late this month

Jennifer Higgins, above, current associate director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, will serve as temporary chief of staff after Olick leaves late this month

Olick told her colleagues in a suicide note, “While they are too often undervalued by our fellow citizens, it constantly strikes me how many millions of Americans sleep safely every night because so many at DHS don’t sleep.”

Olick’s replacement is a career official who has worked in the federal government for nearly 20 years, while Olick came from SKDK, a prominent Democratic strategic communications firm. She recently led the company’s voting initiative practice, according to Politico.

Afghan refugees line up to eat at a food hall in Doña Ana Village in Fort Bliss, New Mexico, where they will be housed Friday, Sept. 10.

Afghan refugees line up to eat at a food hall in Doña Ana Village in Fort Bliss, New Mexico, where they will be housed Friday, Sept. 10.

Dozens of people, part of the fourth caravan of Central American migrants, begin their way from the town of Tapachula, in Mexico's Chiapas state, Sept. 4.

Dozens of people, part of the fourth caravan of Central American migrants, begin their way from the town of Tapachula, in Mexico’s Chiapas state, Sept. 4.

The number of detentions on the southern border reached a 21-year high in July, when Customs and Border Protection (CBP) found more than 212,000 migrants along the US-Mexico border.

The numbers bring Biden to the 1 million mark, as the number of encounters reaches 934,257 when counting the data between February and July.

Leaked audio last month showed Mayorkas said the border crisis is “unsustainable” and “we are going to lose.”

“If our borders are the first line of defense, we’re going to lose, and this is untenable,” he said in audio obtained by Fox News.

‘We can’t go on like this, our people in the field can’t go on and our system isn’t built for it.’

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