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Thread: Democrats Slam DHS Secretary After Closed-Door Meeting

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  1. #1
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Democrats Slam DHS Secretary After Closed-Door Meeting

    Democrats slam DHS secretary after closed-door meeting

    By Heather Caygle

    03/17/17

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly struck a defiant tone in a meeting with House Democrats Friday, lawmakers said, telling them he's "the best thing to happen" to immigrants brought here as minors — and if members don't like current laws, they should change them.


    "I'm the best thing that happened to DACA.... it is still on the books," Kelly said, referring to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the Obama-era program that shields undocumented immigrants brought here as children from deportation.



    "If you don't like the law we are enforcing, and I don't like many of them, please, please, please change the law," Kelly added, according to multiple sources in the room.

    This was the first meeting for House Democrats with a cabinet-level official in President Donald Trump’s administration and came after relations have further frayed over the White House crackdown on undocumented immigrants.


    A number of Democrats left the caucus-wide confab visibly frustrated, saying Kelly wasn't providing substantive answers to questions and describing him as “belligerent,” “tense” and “rude.”


    "He's literally talking in circles," said Rep. Tony Cardenas (D-Calif.), who said he left the meeting early because he couldn’t handle Kelly’s attitude. "It's pretty damn frustrating."

    DHS spokesman David Lapan, who accompanied Kelly, said lawmakers' characterizations are "not descriptive of the meeting."

    "Secretary Kelly spent an hour with more than 100 House Democrats in response to their request and to answer as many questions as he could in the time allotted," Lapan wrote in an email. "In addition to responding to questions, he committed to continue to engage with them."

    Democratic leaders had been pushing for the sit-down with Kelly after a number of rank-and-file Democrats were kicked out of a meeting with immigration officials last month. But Democrats said Kelly showed up Friday without specific answers to the dozens of letters lawmakers have sent to DHS, which received no replies.

    “To not even get a response,” said House Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Linda Sánchez (Calif.), “we feel like we are sending letters into a black hole.”

    The meeting mostly focused on recent White House efforts to expand immigration enforcement, which members fear cou

    But lawmakers also brought up the reworked executive order banning refugees and citizens from six majority-Muslim countries. Two federal courts in Hawaii and Maryland ruled against the travel ban this week, halting the order for now.

    Kelly rejected lawmakers’ assertions that the executive order is a “Muslim ban” and said the administration planned to defend the order all the way to the Supreme Court.

    The DHS chief was defensive and “incredulous,” lawmakers said, when told some of his agents weren’t following the law in pursuing certain undocumented immigrants.

    He pushed back on the idea that agents were rounding up undocumented immigrants at churches and schools, despite being presented with photos of a Customs and Border Protection van on church grounds. Kelly said schools and churches were sensitive areas that were not targeted by immigration agents, but "courtrooms are a different story."

    The retired general said his department focused on immigrants with criminal records and rejected the notion that he controls who gets deported.

    “The Department of Homeland Security does not deport anyone,” Kelly said, according to sources in the room. “The law and the judges of the United States” do that, he added.

    But Democrats left the meeting saying it was clear Kelly had a “pass the buck” mentality, even telling lawmakers he’s “not a lawyer” when asked if he thought DACA is recognized as the rule of the law by DHS.

    "I can guarantee you we're not going after kids that are fully DACA qualified,” Kelly said, prompting audible scoffs from members.

    "Give me a break will you?" he responded, according to sources.

    Kelly also stood firm on an idea he floated recently to separate women and their children at the border and put the kids into foster care, according to multiple members.

    "Everything will remain on the table," Kelly said, spurring cries of "no" from the caucus, according to multiple sources.

    "It was a very military presentation" when members were looking for "a little humanity," Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) said after.

    House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (N.Y.) said the former Marine Corps general treated lawmakers like they were "plebes" in boot camp.

    GOP Rep. Steve King’s widely-criticized remark that “we can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.”

    "I don't know what he said but I know there was a controversy,” Kelly said, prompting shouts of “come on!” from lawmakers, according to sources.


    It’s “certainly not my position and not how we're going about" enforcement at DHS, Kelly added. But the DHS chief said that he was executing "a different philosophical approach" than his predecessor in the Obama administration, Jeh Johnson.

    Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), one of the lawmakers booted from the February meeting with ICE officials, wasn't mollified after questioning Kelly.
    “As long as they see Latinos as criminals, as a threat, as a ‘threat to their civilization,’ I think it makes it impossible to sit down,” he said.


    http://www.politico.com/story/2017/0...mocrats-236173



    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 03-17-2017 at 09:13 PM.
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  2. #2
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Matthew 19:26
    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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  3. #3
    MW
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    Kelly had to know going in that this was going to end up being a Democrat ambush. The Democrats didn't show up for an open-minded discussion, they showed up to attack President Trump's immigration position and policies.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Captainron's Avatar
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    The new tactic---if anyone hasn't noticed---is to make outrageous displays of outrageous anger and hope that it will be tolerated. It's akin to the outrageous street demonstrations which are really just small scale riots. It's also going on in townhalls and public meetings all over the country. In official meetings and hearings this is the kind of thing security guards are supposed to crack down on. We now have a state legislative measure on a major public works issue that was initiated through these tactics, where a certain former commissioner would come and wave his fists and virtually curse the actual officials in hearing after hearing.
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captainron View Post
    The new tactic---if anyone hasn't noticed---is to make outrageous displays of outrageous anger and hope that it will be tolerated. It's akin to the outrageous street demonstrations which are really just small scale riots. It's also going on in townhalls and public meetings all over the country. In official meetings and hearings this is the kind of thing security guards are supposed to crack down on. We now have a state legislative measure on a major public works issue that was initiated through these tactics, where a certain former commissioner would come and wave his fists and virtually curse the actual officials in hearing after hearing.
    We are witnessing lots of drama for sure. It often works to garner attention and to change or initiate new laws or whatever.

    "The Squeaky Wheel Gets the Grease."
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    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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