Mr. McAleenan became the fourth person to lead the agency under Mr. Trump in April after the Republican President asked for the resignation of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen.
He said he had "many wonderful candidates" to fill the position.
The person, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss sensitive personnel issues, said the acting secretary felt he had accomplished two of his top priorities - reducing the number of undocumented border crossings and identifying "violent white supremacy" as a threat to the nation in a key USA strategy document. Trump tweeted that McAleenan was leaving to spend more time with his family and go to the private sector.
Kevin, on a job well done!
McAleenan is an attorney who spent 15 years working for U.S. Customs and Border Protection before being named acting CBP director in January.
This is breaking news.
Although McAleenan was not a member of Trump's inner circle - he is a career civil servant and Democrat - or a frequent presence on television like others in the department, he was respected by the White House for his efforts, and his departure came as something of a surprise.
McAleenan also signed off and supported Trump's border wall, describing it as "not just a dumb barrier", according to Politico. Under the policy, immigrants were released into the USA while awaiting their immigration court proceedings. McAleenan has held also held senior posts within Customs and Border Protection in President George W. Bush's administration.
During his tenure, McAleenan introduced several initiatives to reduce a monthslong surge in migrants at the U.S. -Mexico border. Trump told aides that McAleenan had the look he was going for, with the trim, stern demeanor of a federal agent.
A source close to the process told CNN that White House officials tried to talk McAleenan out of resigning.
He was never formally nominated for the job.
"Secretary McAleenan is doing a fantastic job implementing the president's plan to secure the southern border, build the wall, halt illegal immigration and stop the unsafe practice of catch-and-release", Hogan Gidley, the deputy White House press secretary, said in a statement to The Washington Post at the time.
Turnout at early on-campus polls significantly up from 2015
Advanced polling begins this Friday for those who already know who they're voting for or will be unavailable on October 21. A photo identification with a name and current address such as an Ontario Driver's Licence is all that is needed.
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