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Pool Notes From Secretary Kelly’s Trip To San Diego

Release Date: 
February 10, 2017

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
Contact: 202-282-8010

WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) John Kelly visited San Diego, where he met with DHS employees and state and local law enforcement officials.  Below are pool notes compiled by Elliot Spagat of the Associated Press.

Pool photos from Denis Poroy of the Associated Press are available at https://www.flickr.com/photos/dhsgov/

Pool footage is also available from KFMB San Diego.

B-roll from other portions of his trip is available by emailing mediainquiry@hq.dhs.gov.

Pool Notes from Elliot Spagat, Associated Press:

US Homeland Security John Kelly’s meeting with federal, state and local law enforcement officials was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. PST in a conference room at San Diego’s San Ysidro port of entry, the nation’s busiest border crossing. It came near the end of Kelly’s two-day tour of the nation’s border with Arizona and California.

Kelly arrived at 4:10 p.m., shook hands, and was introduced by Pete Flores, US Customs and Border Protection’s San Diego field office director.

Kelly: “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.”

I was in McAllen, Texas, last week, yesterday in Arizona, and today here. I met with DHS employees and also with local law enforcement officials “trying to get my hands around and better understand the border communities.”

“(I) learned a lot about the border, learned a lot about what this physical barrier should like. Trump talked about a wall, a physical barrier of some type.

I got an “earful” from law enforcement officials about where they would most like to have a wall. 

“I’ll take that on board, we’ll bring it back to Washington, put in the blender and come up with a solution.”

Feedback from DHS employees on the border is that we need a wall but, knowing that it can’t be built in an afternoon or maybe even a year, I could really use 31 miles here right now, and, if you have capacity, another 64 miles there. “That’s why I’m here to find out those kind of things.”

Big Bend, Texas. “I’ve never been there but it’s more like a Grand Canyon kind of setting and maybe a different kind of barrier would be appropriate there. The terrain is so rugged.”

San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman: Asks for a definition of a sanctuary city

Kelly: “I don’t have a clue .... It’s inconceivable to me that people who are sworn to protect their communities would not want someone, anyone to remove criminals from their communities and send them somewhere else. I’m stunned when people say, well, we’re not going to cooperate with you even in the event of convicted criminals.

I understand that every community is different. You are all under different pressures.’

It would be hard for me to justify giving grant money to cooperate with removal operations and you were not able to help us with that.

“I promise you we’ll work with you and will make no Draconian moves until I fully understand what a given locale might be doing or not doing.”

Zimmerman: We have “something special in San Diego” in terms of cooperation among law enforcement agencies.

San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore: Echoes Zimmerman comments on collaboration among law enforcement agencies in San Diego “but as far my patrol deputies and police officers out working in the community, we don’t want to be perceived as immigration. Kelly says, “Right,” and Gore says, “I think we’re all pretty much on the same sheet of music.”

Gore then addresses cooperation with ICE in San Diego County jails. I’ve ICE employees in our jails for probably 15-20 years. We can no longer hold people under ICE detainers under the law. Best outcome is for ICE to take custody of people in our facilities but recognize that they can’t be everywhere in California. What could help us is if we can get some type of warrant or court order to hold them.

“That would be a big step in the right direction. And what the state of California is going to come up with down the road, it makes me shudder. I’m really concerned about that because I don’t want to see politics get in the way of good public safety.”

Kelly: “If we can do what we’re asking, for sure. I don’t know if it’s doable relative to case law and all the rest of it.”

The meeting continued but the pool was asked to leave at 4:25 p.m.

Confirmed attendees (* indicates I saw them in the room; others may have been there but I didn’t confirm):

  • US Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly* and aides*;
  • US Border Patrol Chief Ronald Vitiello*;
  • Mark Ghilarducci,* California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services director and homeland security adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown;
  • Mark Pazin,* California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services law enforcement division chief;
  • Joe Farrow, California Highway Patrol commissioner;
  • Jim Abele, California Highway Patrol’s border division chief;
  • David Baldwin, California National Guard adjutant general;
  • Bill Gore,* San Diego County sheriff;
  • Ray Loera,* Imperial County sheriff;
  • Shelley Zimmerman,* San Diego police chief;
  • Roxanna Kennedy,* Chula Vista (Calif.) police chief;
  • Walter Vasquez, La Mesa (Calif.) police chief;
  • Manuel Rodriguez, National City (Calif.) police chief;
  • Craig Carter,* Escondido (Calif.) police chief;
  • Joe Froomin, Coronado (Calif.) police chief;
  • Frank McCoy, Oceanside (Calif.) police chief;
  • Aniello Gallucci, Carlsbad (Calif.) police chief;
  • Jeffrey Davis, El Cajon (Calif.) police chief;
  • Pete Flores,* US Customs and Border Protection San Diego office field director;
  • Richard Barlow,* US Border Patrol San Diego sector chief;
  • John Priddy, US Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations director for San Diego;
  • David Shaw,* special agent in charge of US Homeland Security Investigations in San Diego;
  • Gregory Archambeault,* US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s San Diego enforcement and removal operations field office director;
  • Capt. Joseph Buzzella,* US Coast Guard San Diego sector commander.
Last Published Date: January 29, 2018
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