The sign on President Harry S. Truman’s desk saying “The Buck Stops Here” illustrates the long-held management dictum that the person at the top is responsible for the failures of his or her organization. On that basis, direct responsibility for the recent chaos on the southern border as Immigration and Customs Enforcement has attempted to implement the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy lies with Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen of the Department of Homeland Security.

The failure of her department to develop effective strategies and plans prior to implementing the policy, as well as the chaotic enforcement effort, are indicative of either a callous indifference to the policy’s shameful consequences, or a remarkable level of sheer incompetence on the part of the secretary.

No matter one’s position on the administration’s immigration policies, the manner in which they have been implemented has been a national embarrassment. Whether that embarrassment is the result of a cruel and callous indifference, or total incompetence, or both, is immaterial; Secretary Nielsen’s leadership failures in this fiasco demonstrate that she is not fit to run the DHS, and she should resign.

If she lacks the personal integrity to accept responsibility for her failures and do the honorable thing, then President Trump should put on his “Apprentice” game face and tell her, “You’re fired!” Either way, it’s time for her to go so that a competent and responsible person can clean up the mess.

William Spear