Immigration Questions Extend to Homeland Security Nominee

Communications Associate

January 9, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senators should look to gain a better idea of Retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly’s stances regarding immigration as they consider his nomination for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday.

The following is a statement by Ali Noorani, Executive Director of the National Immigration Forum:

“We need to know more about General Kelly’s approach to issues at the intersection of security and immigration. Most important, can we depend on Kelly to be an ardent champion of immigration reforms that help the American worker, strengthen our border, create a functioning legal immigration system and legalize the undocumented?

“Regarding border security, Kelly appears to understand the factors causing people to flee violence in Central America. His approach to border security must distinguish between refugees fleeing violence and drug cartels fomenting violence. A wall spanning the entire southern border is not realistic. What other measures would Kelly put in place that enhance both security and accountability without wasting taxpayer funds?

“On interior enforcement, prioritization of limited law enforcement resources remains critical. Pursuing otherwise law-abiding undocumented immigrants hampers the ability of federal and local law enforcement to keep the nation safe. How would he strike that balance?

“DHS is also in charge of the naturalization system. What would he do to ensure that system is efficient and encourages the development of a society that is inclusive of new Americans?

“Last but not least, DHS is the agency ultimately responsible for the private information of recipients of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. These are individuals who, like their families, are improving the health and vitality of the American economy. What will General Kelly do to make sure these young people continue their paths to the American dream?”

“Kelly’s expertise on Latin America is promising, but he also must look beyond the Southwest border for a more robust picture of our needs related to immigration. As they prioritize our security, DHS’ new leadership must honor our country’s longstanding commitment to valuing immigrants and immigration.”