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Today Is the Day DHS Secretary Kelly Confirmed that the Trump Administration is Intent on Mass Deportation

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CHC meeting shows Kelly to the perfect pitchman for the radical Trump agenda

During a meeting with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus this afternoon DHS Secretary John Kelly signaled the following:

  • DACA threatened: The future of DACA, the program that has unlocked opportunities for nearly 800,000 Dreamers, will be decided in the coming weeks by Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions is well-known as an ardent opponent of DACA.
  • TPS on the rocks: Secretary Kelly will decide the fate of 350,000 immigrants from 10 countries who have Temporary Protected Status (TPS) – a form of relief extended to nationals of countries unable to handle their return because of civil strife, natural disasters and instability. Since Kelly has repeatedly and publicly expressed enormous skepticism about TPS, and since he is surrounded at DHS by acolytes of Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller and Jeff Sessions, it seems increasingly clear that TPS is on the DHS hit list.
  • Discretion be damned: When confronted with the fact that he has the authority to exercise discretion on deportation cases involving undocumented immigrants with deep ties and strong equities, he pretended he didn’t have such authority. As “unshackled” deportation agents up their arrests and eviscerate standard notions of prioritization, this strongly suggests that discretion and prioritization are relics of the past.

Following the meeting with Kelly, Rep. Luis Gutiérrez issued a stark set of warnings:

This was a wake-up call that Trump, Sessions and Kelly are serious about mass deportation and are anxious to get started….

Sec. Kelly says it is up to Congress [to change the law], but his party is the obstacle standing in the way of a modern immigration system….

Sec. Kelly said he could not help people and their American citizen children who have no criminal record and are being deported, as if he doesn’t understand that he has the power under current law to spare people through his prosecutorial discretion.

He either does not understand his authority under current law or was stonewalling or doing a very convincing job of playing dumb – or maybe some combination of the three.  He is playing along with Trump’s agenda to deport millions and pretending to not understand his powers to do something about it.  ‘Just following orders’ is not a valid defense, especially when you have the power to prevent a tragedy for millions of American citizens and their families.

Trump, Sessions and Kelly want to take 800,000 DREAMers with DACA and hundreds of thousands with TPS who are registered with the government and in compliance with the law and make them into criminals, felons, and deportees in the next few months.

According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice Education Fund:

This is a Code Red moment. Kelly talks as if he’s a reasonable person who is only doing his job, but he’s become the perfect pitchman for the Trump Administration’s mass deportation agenda. Determined to throw sand in our face with talk of targeting ‘bad hombres,’ unwilling to set meaningful priorities or use discretion to protect those who have strong claims to remain in the U.S, and now gearing up to kill DACA and end TPS for over 1 million of the most sympathetic immigrants in America, the hardliners in the Trump Administration are going for broke. They are determined to deport millions and to scare millions more into picking up and leaving on their own. If they succeed, it will constitute one of America’s darkest chapters in our history. People of good will, from across the political spectrum, must stand up to Trump, Bannon, Miller, Sessions and Kelly, stand up for those live in our communities, and stand up for our identity as a nation that welcomes immigrants and refugees in a way that strengthens our nation. The moment of truth is upon us.