Acting CBP Director Describes Turbulent Enforcement Of Immigration Order

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, right, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, center, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan,... U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan, right, accompanied by Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, center, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Acting Director Thomas Homan, left, speaks at a news conference at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, to discuss the operational implementation of the president's executive orders. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik) MORE LESS
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The acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection acknowledged on Tuesday the at-times turbulent implementation of President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration.

Kevin McAleenan said in a press conference, alongside Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly and others, that his agency “acted quickly on Friday evening” to comply with the executive order. He later said that he oversaw the issuance of waivers for hundreds of visa-holders “over a matter of hours Friday night into Saturday afternoon.”

McAleenan laid some of the blame for the long weekend of coordination between his agency’s leadership and agents in airports on the intervention of federal courts.

“In this case we had court orders come in right when we are implementing the operational plan, so we had to adjust our efforts a little bit,” he said. “But we worked quickly to implement and I think the process is really smoothed out. And just to clarify, the initial communications weren’t within 72 hours, they were within two hours of the executive order being received.”

In his introductory remarks, McAleenan’s described a packed series of events starting just hours after Trump issued his order on Friday.

“First, we made changes in our system to identify those passport holders and visa holders from the affected countries. We had a call with our field leadership, our director of field operations, to inform them of the executive order and the actions they needed to take. We issued written guidance to our field,” he said. “We had calls with stakeholders, these are air carriers and airports starting just a few hours after receiving the order so that they would understand how to operate. We also overnight on Friday and Saturday worked through a process to be able to waive travelers that were in transit or had sensitive cases that should be considered for a waiver or in national interest as the executive order calls for”

The acting commissioner also said more information would be available for those visa-holders and other parties affected by the order—information that might normally be available as soon as an order such as this was implemented.

“We are updating on our website and it will be there as you login at A statement about the implementation; FAQ’s giving information to travelers, the public, and other stakeholders; as well as a link for specific questions affecting individual travelers and a phone number to call,” he said.

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  1. Avatar for paulw paulw says:

    So he’s proud of the fact that they started enforcing the order with no idea of how it was supposed to work, and may eventually get their sh*t together to enforce it as it was written. And even further down the line may be able to comply with existing law and with the Constitution, but he’s not sure.

    This is like those software companies that release the alpha version and take people’s money. Only with lives.

  2. Avatar for sooner sooner says:

  3. Avatar for dweb dweb says:

    So here’s a question it seems nobody in Congress is interested in asking:

    When the EO came out, CPB agents began presenting documents to arriving immigrants who HAD all the paperwork they needed for entry and telling them they had to sign it. The documents were statements that the immigrant was waiving their right to enter the country AND promising not to come back.

    Where the hell did that come from? Only thing I can think of was that some agents (many of home are fervent Trump supporters) created it out of whole cloth. I can’t imagine they had drafts of the stuff sent to them from agency heads because the agency heads clearly had virtually no specifics about the Executive Order and how to enforce it. But somehow they decided that getting them to sign waivers of their clear rights was in order.

    According to media reports, they told some immigrants they had to sign it to get out of custody. In some cases they demanded it be sighned when the immigrant’s lack of English fluency meant they didn’t know what they were signing. In other cases, reportedly, they were asked to write their signatyure only, much like a credit card machine signing, only to learn that they had signed the document.

    This isn’t a country of law. It is rule by the Gestapo and the CBP appears to be the first of the storm troopers. Be very afraid.

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