For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
WASHINGTON – Today, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly delivered brief remarks during a media availability in El Paso:
“In our system of government, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Justice enforce the laws passed by the United States Congress. That includes our immigration laws. These laws exist to keep our people safe and our nation sovereign.
Both the Attorney General and I are serious about border security and enforcing our immigration laws. In accordance with the Executive Orders signed earlier this year, we have ended dangerous “catch and release” enforcement policies. We have significantly increased detainers for deportation. And we have arrested more criminal aliens.
We will continue to expand our approach to deterring illegal migration. That includes our approach of prosecuting anyone who pays traffickers to smuggle people into the country—especially those who smuggle in children.
People who illegally cross our borders do not respect the laws of our nation. We want to get the law breakers off our streets, and out of the country, for the good of our communities.
Under the laws of our nation, migrants get a ruling from an immigration judge, who determines if someone is subject to removal. Historically, it was a slow process with a massive backlog. That meant overcrowded detention facilities, and long waits before justice could be served.
DHS and DOJ are working together to improve this process. At DHS, we’re working to expand our detention capacity, and process immigration cases as close to the southern border as possible.
DOJ has already deployed additional immigration judges from the interior of the country to handle border-related cases.
This means detained immigrants aren’t biding their time in the United States, using our government’s resources. It means we can move them through our system more efficiently—less bed space, shorter waits, and faster repatriation, if that’s what the law requires.
We at DHS support the Department of Justice’s efforts to hire additional immigration judges, and their commitment to holding those judges accountable for docket management.
It’s on us to enforce the law. And I’m proud to say we’re doing our part. I am honored to serve with the men and women of DHS, who do so much every day to keep our country safe and strong.”