February 12, 2017

DHS Secretary Kelly Tours Border States Amid Nation-wide ICE Raids


Official DHS photo by Jetta Disco
Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly

Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly tours the Rio Grande Valley near Mission, Texas with a Border Patrol Riverine Unit in an Air and Marine Safe-Boat, Feb. 1, 2017. Areas in Mission along the Rio Grande river have become a popular spot for illegal crossings in recent years.

Washington, DC – The United States is witnessing a new wave of deportations of illegal aliens as Federal immigration authorities launched raids and other actions in several states.

The raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) were reported in California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, New Jersey, Illinois and Kansas while US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly toured the border states. Secretary Kelly met with federal, state and local law enforcement officials including at San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry, the nation’s busiest border crossing.

Speaking at San Ysidro, Kelly – who was introduced by Pete Flores, US Customs and Border Protection’s San Diego field office director – told the audience, “Politics aside (Trump is) our president now and we have to help make America succeed. So I would just offer that he’s got an agenda, more or less the same agenda he talked about during his campaign. Unlike a lot of candidates for public office, he’s actually doing what he said he was going to do, or trying to do what he’s said he’s going to do.”

Kelly said he was in McAllen, Texas, last week, then in Arizona, and now in San Ysidro. He met with DHS employees and also with local law enforcement officials, adding he was, “trying to get my hands around and better understand the border communities.”

The reported ICE operations came on the heels of President Donald Trump issuing his January 26 executive order expanding the priorities for enforcement. During his campaign, Trump promised to deport 2 to 3 million immigrants with criminal records. Immigration experts, however, say that while DHS estimates there are 1.9 million “removable criminal aliens” in the United States, only about 690,000 are in this country illegally and have been convicted of a felony or serious misdemeanor.

David Marin, an ICE official in southern California called the actions routine “surge operations” that target “priority cases,” in other words, people in this country illegally who have criminal convictions.

“We made 161 arrests, and of those 161, 151 of those had prior criminal convictions. … The majority of them were felons and those felons which had prior convictions included sex offenses, domestic violence, assault, robbery and weapons violations, just to name a few,” said Marin in a press teleconference held late Friday.

Commenting on the ICE operations across Southern Califronia, California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León stated, “There are reports that ICE today executed raids across Southern California. I have asked federal officials to disclose how many children, men, and women they have detained; what the processing time will be; what the rationale is for their detention; and I asked that everyone be offered access to an attorney.”

Asking his constituents to visit his website to know their rights, the Senator said, “We will continue to work aggressively to protect law-abiding immigrants because you and your families are a great value to our society.”

“It is now clear the Trump Administration is not concerned with public safety, they are only focused on ripping hard-working men, women, and children from their families and communities. Mass deportations will not make us safer, instead they will simply undermine our state’s economy,” the Democrat Senator from Los Angeles concluded.

Commenting on the country-wide ICE raids, Ravi Batra, eminent lawyer and Chair, National Advisory Council, South Asian Affairs, told IAT, “We need to secure our borders as we secure our homes. We can do this without destroying ourselves or our nation, if we honor the Constitution – core of American exceptionalism.”

Highlighting that the ICE raids were planned while Obama was still president, and similar ICE raids occurred in 2015, Batra said, “What’s different is that the public is activated since the ill-advised Bannon-effected Travel Ban of January 27, 2017, which was legally and constitutionally dead-on-arrival.”

Noting, “compassion and magnanimousness are attributes of the strong, not weak,” Batra hoped, “President Trump will abandon the old travel ban executive order, as well as the even more dangerous executive order that barred the National Director of Intelligence and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the National Security Council, while incredulously seating a political adviser, Steve Bannon, as their collective replacement. America’s national security is not a political football to be fought over by our cherished 2-party system, or worse, the lunatic fringes in each, but a core obligation of every American – citizen and government, local, state and federal.”