Kelly Demands Acting DHS Secy Expel Hondurans More Quickly

Sipa USA via AP

This is a wild story. Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Elaine Duke is reportedly going to resign after Chief of Staff John Kelly (her former boss as DHS Secretary) called her from Asia to complain that she wasn’t expelling Honduran immigrants quickly enough.

This comes from a report in The Washington Post. The details are important. There are a substantial number of immigrants in the US from a handful of Caribbean basin nations where there were either natural disasters or human rights crises which led to the decision to allow immigrants from those countries to stay in the US under Temporary Protected Status. The Trump administration’s policy goal is to change those country designations and expel those people.

Elaine Duke is basically in the process of doing just that. She’s already done it with Nicaraguans. She’s just not going fast enough apparently. She decided more time and fact-finding were necessary to make a decision. That got Kelly and Bossert on her case for ‘kicking the can down the road’ and lacking ‘decisiveness’. Kelly was apparently also upset that Duke’s decision might adversely impact confirmation hearings for Kirstjen M. Nielsen, his chosen successor at DHS. The upshot though is that Kelly is angry with Duke because she’s not expelling people quickly enough. The Post’s sources says Duke told Kelly she’s going to resign, though the DHS spokesperson said that’s not true.

From the Post

On Monday, as the Department of Homeland Security prepared to extend the residency permits of tens of thousands of Honduran immigrants living in the United States, White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly called Acting Secretary Elaine Duke to pressure her to expel them, according to current and former administration officials.

Duke refused to reverse her decision and was angered by what she felt was a politically driven intrusion by Kelly and Tom Bossert, the White House homeland security adviser, who also called her about the matter, according to officials with knowledge of Monday’s events, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

From what I can tell Duke is mainly a career government bureaucrat/administrator rather than an ideologue. She was appointed Under Secretary of Homeland Security for Management under George W. Bush and then stayed on through mid-2010 under Obama.

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