John Kelly reanimated the Department of Homeland Security during his six-month stay at the agency, which had been paralyzed by the easy-migration policies imposed by former President Barack Obama.
His most skilled achievement was to push President Donald Trump’s pro-American policies forward while keeping good relations with the Hill Democrats. His main strategy was to remind Democrats that he was merely enforcing the laws they had already passed and to invite them to change their laws if they disliked his enforcement policies.
- He sidelined most of the top staff picked by Obama and allowed the department’s border and enforcement agents to actually enforce the nation’s immigration law. The result is that more than 70,000 illegals have been sent home by motivated agents, including many of the MS-13 gang members invited by Obama to live in the United States since 2011.
- He allowed agents in U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency to clamp down on the border enforcement, so shrinking the border crossing by roughly 70 percent since January.
- Kelly picked good deputies to run the agency’s major offices, including Frank Cissna, who is expected to take over the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, which oversees the vetting of prospective visitors and immigrants.
- He pushed back against the effort by Capitol Hill legislators to add another 70,000 H-2B visa workers to the economy each year. He kept that figure down to 15,000 a year, despite closed-door pressure from Hill legislators, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and North Carolina GOP Sen. Thom Tillis.
- He pushed Trump’s priority of “merit-based” immigration reform by showing Democrats that Obama’s 2012 “DACA” amnesty will likely die from a lawsuit unless they help pass a compromise immigration reform.
- Kelly made sure to coordinate the work by many U.S. agencies to help boost the economies of Central American countries. If the economics of Central America improve, they won’t send so many migrants and drug shipments northwards, he argues.
- Kelly emphasized the need to reduce the use of drugs — and the huge annual toll of dead Americans.
- He pushed forward with the much-postponed “entry-exit” system which is designed to identify and deport the many legal travelers and visitors who overstay their visas and join the population of illegal immigrants.
- Kelly cut off funding for the Islamic political groups that had worked with Obama’s deputies to exclude FBI anti-terrorism agents from Islamic communities and mosques in the United States.
- Kelly warned foreigners now living in the United States under “Temporary Protected Status” that they must return home. That’s a big change, because the prior administrations usually just renewed each bath of foreign refugees, from countries such as Hait and El Salvador.
To read more about Kelly’s policies at DHS, click here.
Penny Starr contributed to this article.