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Immigration 101: Who Is John Kelly And How Can He Decide the Fate of Millions of Immigrants?


John Kelly is the head of the Department of Homeland Security and the top immigration official in the Trump Administration. He is the person in charge of carrying out Trump’s detailed blueprint for mass deportation.

Secretary Kelly has the final say in who gets to stay and who will be deported. He is the reason Maribel Trujillo-Diaz, an Ohio mom of four U.S. citizen children, was deported despite having no criminal record and having a work permit which allowed her to legally contribute to the US.

During the last two years of Obama’s presidency, immigration officials weighed deportation decisions by a set of priorities that focused on individuals who posed a security risk rather than removing ordinary, hard-working immigrants.

Deportations under Trump and Kelly

Under Kelly’s leadership and Trump’s direction, immigration officials are now conducting deportations indiscriminately. President Trump said he will prioritize criminals, yet the people he’s said he wants to deport does not meet any definition of who could be considered a criminal. And Secretary Kelly has claimed that his department only targets immigrants who have committed crimes — but reports show that claim to not be true.

A Washington Post article recently found that the number of non-criminals arrested has doubled under Trump. Another investigation in Florida that three-fourths of the immigrants detained there had no criminal record other than driving offenses.

It’s unclear whether Secretary Kelly is unaware that his department is deporting immigrants who don’t deserve to be — or whether he does, and is hiding mass deportations behind a smokescreen of criminality. Sec. Kelly has said one thing about who is being deported — but the evidence says another.

The details in Trump’s executive order on interior enforcement made clear that just about all of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in America are at risk of deportation.

Find the latest information about DHS Secretary John Kelly here.