Mon | Jul 16, 2018

Kelly: No use of US military to enforce immigration

Published:Friday | February 24, 2017 | 12:00 AM
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (left) shakes hands with Mexico's Foreign Relations Secretary Luis Videgaray at the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Mexico City yesterday.


UNITED STATES Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly pledged yesterday that America won't enlist its military to enforce immigration laws and that there will be "no mass deportations".

Only hours earlier, President Donald Trump suggested the opposite. "It's a military operation," Trump said yesterday at the White House.

Kelly's declarations came as senior Trump administration officials sought to temper Latin American concerns about a new US immigration crackdown.

Speaking in Mexico City after he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with their Mexican counterparts, Kelly said all deportations will honour human rights and the US legal system. That includes multiple appeals offered to those facing deportation. Kelly said the US approach will involve "close coordination" with Mexico's government.

"There will be no use of military forces in immigration," Kelly said. "There will be no repeat, no mass deportations."

Trump said the US is "getting really bad dudes out of this country at a rate nobody has ever seen before".

He said it's a military operation "because what has been allowed to come into our country, when you see gang violence that you've read about like never before and all of the things, much of that is people who are here illegally. And they're rough and they're tough, but they're not tough like our people. So we're getting them out."

Mexico and other Latin American nations have been on edge over Trump's plan to target millions of people in the US illegally for potential deportation - including many Mexicans.

Trump spoke during the presidential campaign about using a "deportation force", and his Homeland Security Department at one point considered using the National Guard to help with deportations, although the White House has said that that idea has been ruled out.