Department of Homeland Security John Kelly said the U.S. military would not be used in America’s efforts to deport criminal aliens. He also stated there would be no mass deportations. His comments came during a press conference in Mexico City where he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with their counterparts.
“Let me be very, very clear, there will be no, repeat, no mass deportations,” Secretary Kelly told reporters. “Everything we do in DHS will be done legally and according to human rights and the legal justice system of the United States.”
His comments followed shortly after remarks made by President Donald Trump when he referred to the targeted immigration enforcement efforts as a “military operation,” The Hill reported. White House Spokesman Sean Spicer later clarified the remarks reminding reporters that President Trump used the phrase as an adjective.
“The president was clearly describing the manner in which this is being done,” Spicer explained.
Kelly also appeared to reference a fake news article from the Associated Press last week that claimed President Trump was considering using the National Guard as deportation officers. The White House and DHS flatly denied the allegation. “That is 100% not true. It is false. It is irresponsible to be saying this,” Spicer told reporters during a news briefing.
Department of Homeland Security Spokesman David Lapan responded to an inquiry from Breitbart Texas stating, “The Department is not considering mobilizing the National Guard for immigration enforcement.”
The DHS has repeatedly said their department is not and will not be engaging in mass deportations. The department has been engaged in a targeted enforcement action aimed at taking criminal aliens and those who have been ordered removed from the country by an immigration judge. Nearly 700 such people were rounded up earlier this month in Operation Cross Check.
Despite the targeted nature of the operation, many fake news reports scared members of immigrant communities; spreading rumors of mass sweeps and raids, Breitbart Texas reported. One post by an Austin city council member went as far as to claim the arrest of criminal aliens was somehow an act of retaliation by the Trump Administration because of immigration protests.
Kelly and Tillerson were expected to meet with President of Mexico Enrique Peña Nieto, and the Mexican ministers of Interior, Foreign Relations, Finance, National Defense, and the Navy to discuss border security, law enforcement cooperation, and trade.