Potential Homeland Security Nominee Raises Questions

Communications Associate

December 7, 2016

WASHINGTON, D.C. — President-elect Donald Trump will nominate retired Marine Gen. John F. Kelly for secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), according to reports today.

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

“The Senate Judiciary Committee has questions to consider regarding General Kelly’s nomination.

“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?

“He seems to have a blank slate 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, who else will be named to other leadership positions at DHS? The picks for deputy secretary and leadership of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services are crucial.

“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, other new leaders within DHS must honor our country’s longstanding commitment to valuing immigrants and immigration.

“Finally, DHS is the agency ultimately responsible for the private information of DACA recipients. 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? And, most importantly, can we depend on Kelly to be an ardent champion of immigration reforms that help the American worker, legalize the undocumented, strengthen our border and create a functioning legal immigration system?”