DHS Worker Says Trump's Immigration Policies Left Him With No Choice but to Resign: 'We Are America. We Can Do Better'

A Homeland Security worker says he has resigned from his role after years of service because he can no longer align himself with President Donald Trump's immigration policies.

In a scathing account published by The Houston Chronicle Travis Olsen explains what led him to the decision that he could "no longer be party to an intimidating, mismanaged and unwelcoming administration that is openly rebellious to the values our government has espoused for centuries."

"For nearly a decade I have been a frontline civilian with the Department of Homeland Security, never seeing my work as political or driven by partisanship. I have served with purpose, with duty and gratitude to the values of our country," Olsen said, adding: "I agree with President George W. Bush's definition of our nation, 'America can be a lawful society and a welcoming society at the same time.'"

Olsen said that while the U.S. has "always been a refuge for those fleeing persecution oppression and dictatorships," under the Trump administration, "these ideals which have governed our country for centuries have been crushed under the weight of intolerance and public irresponsibility."

An example of that, he said, was the Trump administration's recent decision to transfer Border Patrol agents from their already "unprecedented law enforcement workloads" to "conduct non-adversarial interviews of asylum seekers."

"This is a clear attempt to replace the humanitarian mission of our protection laws with an enforcement objective," Olsen said.

And, he added, "it is part of a string of unnecessary and counter-productive policies such as sending children across the country from their parents and leaving asylum-seekers in Mexico in the hands of the cartels," striking out at the Trump administration's widely-condemned "Remain in Mexico" policy.

"Seeking greater security and vetting procedures does not require abandoning basic human rights or putting vulnerable people at even greater risk," the resigned DHS worker said.

While Olsen did say that he believes the U.S. does need to modernize its "outdated immigration system," the Trump administration has so far failed to do that.

In fact, he said, the current leadership has only succeeded in creating "more problems by pulling resources further from their purpose and thereby clogging an already overflowing system. This has not been to enforce our laws but simply to unilaterally implement the administration's version of the law."

"We need rational, sensible and thoughtful solutions. We can support our allies by raising refugee admissions back to standard numbers. We can eliminate push factors by reinstating targeted aid to neighboring countries. We can utilize effective alternatives to detention and not create humanitarian crises within our borders," the resigned DHS worker said. "But none of this can happen when our government deliberately targets children, families and other vulnerable people. Basic humanity and decency must be restored."

Hitting out at Congress members who have defended the Trump administration's hardline immigration policies, Olsen wrote: "Some in Congress have either defended the false choice between security and humanity or simply sat silently as this Administration has trampled our national history."

DHS
Close-up of logo for the United States Department of Homeland Security on an emergency vehicle in San Francisco, California, February 25, 2019. A DHS worker says he has resigned over the Trump administration's hardline immigration policies. Collection/Gado/Getty

"We need leaders who will stand for American values in the face of political convenience. We need moral courage in our government. We are America. We can do better, be better," he said.

It is unclear what Olsen's role within the DHS was or how many years he worked with the department.

However, he said he has worked as an attorney, advocate and government officer representing and working with vulnerable populations.

Newsweek has contacted the DHS for comment for this article.

DHS Worker Says Trump's Immigration Policies Left Him With No Choice but to Resign: 'We Are America. We Can Do Better' | U.S.