The Department of Homeland Security was improperly restricted by officials working for President Barack Obama, says John Kelly, the new DHS secretary.
“For too long, the men and women of my department have been political pawns… similar to the treatment suffered by law enforcement over the last few years, they are often ridiculed and insulted by public officials,” Secretary Kelly declared in a speech to a selected audience in Washington D.C.
“My people have been discouraged from doing their jobs for a decade… All of this stopped on January 20,” he declared. “It stopped wth President [Donald] Trump and it stopped with me,” he said, noting that illegal immigration over the southern border has dropped by two-thirds compared to early 2016. “We haven’t even done anything … we’ve done things, but we haven’t done the big things yet,” he added.
Politicians who complain about the implementation of the border laws passed by Congress “should have the courage and skill to change those laws, otherwise they should shut up and support the people on the front lines,” Kelly said.
The political interference included top-level demands that border officials ignore the threat of cooperation between drug gangs and terrorist groups, that they also “catch and release” border crossers and that they do not prosecute migrant-smuggling coyotes, he said.
Since Trump’s first week “it is our responsibility to ensure the safety of the American people … we want to get the lawbreakers of our streets and out of our country.” The 250,000 men and women in the department “know they have an administration, a department and a secretary that has their back,” he declared.
Throughout his speech, Kelly showed hostility to the progressives’ support for open-borders and politicized enforcement of laws, and he repeatedly hinted at his willingness to clear Obama’s progressive appointees from the department. Kelly expressed his own ideological support for the constitution, the laws, Americans and America.
“We have a sacred duty and that is the continuation of the United States as we know it. To protect our way of life and the exceptional people we are,” he said, echoing the oath taken by new legal immigrants, and implicitly dismissing Obama’s claim that American is not exceptional.
That’s very different from Obama’s 2014 comments against clear American borders, when he said that “part of what’s wonderful about America is also what makes our democracy hard sometimes, because sometimes we get attached to our particular tribe, our particular race, our particular religion, and then we start treating other folks differently … that, sometimes, has been a bottleneck to how we think about immigration.”
Kelly’s “sacred duty” comment came shortly after Kelly outlined the danger of the Islamic State’s religiously motivated jihadis, saying “many of these holy warriors will survive [defeat in Syria and will] come back to their home country where they will wreak havoc,” he said. ‘We live in a dangerous world … [and] those dangers are increasing,” he said, contradicting claims from progressives in Obama’s administration who claimed a decreasingly dangerous world.
Kelly spent much of him time reassuring DHS employees that he is emotionally and ideologically supportive of their pro-America mission. “I could not be prouder to work alongside the men and women of Homeland Security… we owe them a debt of gratitude,” he said.
Kelly also repeatedly challenged legislators to stop complaining about the enforcement of their existing laws. “We are lucky enough to live in a nation of laws,” he said. For example, the department will continue to enforce federal laws outlawing marijuana, he said. “Until the law is changed by the U.S. Congress, we in DHS… are sworn to uphold all the laws on the books.”
Kelly dismissed political claims that DHS border officials discriminate against Muslims and Arabs. Border officials are screening arriving people “humanely in accordance with the laws passed by Congress … they are professionals,” he said. When some people are stopped, “it is not because of their skin color… it is not because of their religion,” he said in comments aimed at activists and the established media. Despite media-magnified claims of unfairness, “there is always, always, always more to the story,” he said.
Kelly repeatedly put Americans first, even as he also showed his concern for Central American countries which are damaged by the United States’ appetite for drugs and cheap labor. “We will never apologize for enforcing and upholding the laws of the country… we will never apologize for making our country secure…we do this to keep America strong, secure and free,” he said.
Ending illegal immigration is “not just good for American people, it will save lives,” he said, pointing out that border patrol saved 4,000 migrants from dying in the deserts during 2015.
“Few people crossing the border illegally means fewer deaths in the desert… [and fewer Central Americans taking] take that terrible trip up to the United States,” he said adding that the United States is “trying to give the [migrants] a reason to stay home” in Central America. Kelly is organizing a pending conference in Florida to hep spur economic development in Central America.
Kelly also focused on the danger posed by drugs and drug-smuggling networks. The 2015 death toll of 52,000 from drug overdoses “is the highest number of drug deaths our country has seen…in a single year we’ve lost nearly as many Americans to drug overdoses as we did in World War One,” he said.
Kelly laid out his clear-eyed ideological views at the start of his speech:
But make no mistake—we are a nation under attack.
We are under attack from criminals who think their greed justifies raping young girls at knifepoint, dealing poison to our youth, or killing just for fun.
We are under attack from people who hate us, hate our freedoms, hate our laws, hate our values, hate the way we simply live our lives.
We are under attack from failed states, cyber-terrorists, vicious smugglers, and sadistic radicals.
And we are under attack every single day. The threats are relentless.
… We are under attack from terrorists both within and outside of our borders. They are without conscience, and they operate without rules. They despise the United States, because we are a nation of rights, laws, and freedoms. They have a single mission, and that is our destruction.
And I tell you, without exaggeration, they try to carry out this mission each and every single day and no one can tell you how to stop it. No one.”
Read the full speech here.
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