DHS Chief Of Staff Resigns Amid Border Crisis, Influx Of Afghan Refugees

Temporary processing facilities in Donna, Texas, safely processes family units and unaccompanied alien children (UACs) encountered and in the custody of the U.S. Border Patrol. The facility will bolster processing capacity in the RGV while the permanent Centralized Processing Center in McAllen is renovated. CBP Photo by Jaime Rodriguez Sr.

Department of Homeland Security Chief of Staff Karen Olick resigned amid the migrant crisis at the southern border and an influx of Afghan refugees to the U.S., Politico reported Monday.

Olick serves as the chief of staff to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and plans to move on from the position at the end of September, according to Politico. U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Associate Director of Refugee, Asylum and International Operations Jennifer Higgins is expected to step into the role in an acting capacity until the Biden administration appoints someone else.

Olick “has decided to resign her position and pursue new opportunities,” Mayorkas said, Politico reported. “We are grateful to Karen for her service during the critical first nine months of the new Administration.”


The DHS has struggled to manage the increasing number of migrants arriving at the southern border, according to Politico. The agency has tried to manage and mitigate other crises including the arrival of thousands of Afghan allies in the U.S. and the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

“Though too often underappreciated by our fellow citizens, I am continually struck by how many millions of Americans sleep in safety every night because so many at DHS do not sleep,” Olick said in a farewell email, Politico reported.

Olick worked as a prominent official at a Democratic strategic communications firm before her position at the DHS, according to Politico. Higgins has worked in various positions for the federal government for more than 20 years.


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