Homeland Security chief John Kelly proposes fewer pot arrests in drug war

Apr 18, 2017, 01:48
Homeland Security chief John Kelly proposes fewer pot arrests in drug war

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the number of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S. -Mexico border has "dropped off precipitously" by nearly 70%. Most deportations have been centered on high-profile crimes such as rape and murder.

Homeland Security Chief John Kelly admitted that under the new rules, "even a single DUI, depending on other aspects, would get you into the system" that oversees deportation proceedings.

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"It is fair to say that the definition of criminal has not changed, but where on the spectrum of criminality we operate has changed", Kelly said on NBC's "Meet the Press". It was just last week that the Attorney General fired off a letter to a legion of prosecutors and Justice Department heads announcing the formation of a task force that would reevaluate existing policies, including those pertaining to marijuana. Sessions told Fox News again Saturday that the border is closed to illegal immigrants.

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Like Kelly, Sessions also made clear that stopping illegal immigration is only part of the solution and that removing people here unlawfully - including those protected from deportation by so-called sanctuary cities - is also a priority. According to Kelly, it's the hard drugs like methamphetamine, heroin, and cocaine that represent the most daunting issues. "And that is execute and uphold the nation's laws", Kelly said. "52,000 Americans. You can't put a price on human misery", Kelly said. "And the law deports people. It's the United States criminal justice system - or the justice system - that deports people". "The lawlessness, the abdication of the duty to enforce our immigration laws and the catch-and-release practices of the past are over". ICE spokeswoman Jennifer Elzea told the Post that government bureaucracy and time are the reasons behind the overall decline in deportations.

Also during the segment, Kelly credited Donald Trump's focus on the Mexico-America border with a dramatic drop in border crossings. Anyone can be ticketed or arrested for smoking marijuana in federal parks, after which they would be transferred over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody.

But whatever Sessions plans to do about legal weed, Kelly doesn't think it should involve bringing the hammer down on people who use drugs.