In the wake of the deaths of two migrant kids, outgoing White House chief of employees John Kelly blamed former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for the policy that separated kids from their mother and father at the border.
“What happened was Jeff Sessions, he was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” Kelly instructed the Los Angeles Times in an interview revealed Sunday. “He surprised us.”
Sessions, who President Trump fired after the midterm elections in November, introduced the zero-tolerance policy in May, saying it might act as a deterrent to immigrant households as a result of kids can be separated from their households.
“If you cross the border unlawfully, then we will prosecute you. It’s that simple,” Sessions mentioned at a press convention at the border.
Kelly, who’s leaving the White House on Wednesday, mentioned the announcement caught the Department of Homeland Security unprepared and left DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen holding the ball.
He wouldn’t straight reply a query about whether or not Trump manufactured a migrant invasion at the border earlier than November’s elections however did say, “We do have an immigration problem.”
He blamed immigrants and members of Congress – not the White House – for the scenario at the southern border, the place hundreds of migrants from Central America are stranded in Mexico whereas in search of asylum within the US.
Two Guatemalan kids – Jakelin Caal, 7, and Felipe Gomez Alonzo, 8 – died in December whereas in custody of Customs and Border Protection.
“One of the reasons why it’s so difficult to keep people from coming — obviously it’d be preferable for them to stay in their own homeland but it’s difficult to do sometimes, where they live — is a crazy, oftentimes conflicting series of loopholes in the law in the United States that makes it extremely hard to turn people around and send them home,” Kelly mentioned.
“If we don’t fix the laws, then they will keep coming,” he added. “They have known, and they do know, that if they can get here, they can, generally speaking, stay.”
Kelly, a retired four-star Marine basic, additionally mentioned Trump has backed away from his demand for a concrete wall on the border – a contentious difficulty that has left the White House and congressional Democrats at an deadlock, leading to a partial authorities shutdown.
“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” he instructed the newspaper.
“The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats,” Kelly mentioned. “But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”
When he was DHS secretary, Kelly mentioned CBP officers suggested him about holding immigrants from crossing the border.
“They said, ‘Well we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people,’” Kelly mentioned.