Monday, October 7, 2019

Immigration Protesters Shout Down Acting DHS Secretary


The Associated Press reports that Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan left an immigration policy conference today without speaking after protesters shouted him down.

McAleenan was scheduled as the keynote speaker at the Georgetown University Law Center during an annual immigration law and policy conference organizedby the Migration Policy Institute.


UPDATE (11:00 PST:

The Department of Homeland Security released this statement about the Georgetown event:

"The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to free speech and assembly. Unfortunately that right was robbed from many who were scheduled to speak and attend today’s event at Georgetown. Unfortunately the Acting Secretary and the audience did not get the opportunity to engage in a robust dialogue this morning due to the disruptions of a few activists. The Acting Secretary thanked the organizers and returned to work protecting the Homeland and American values. Event attendees would have learned more about DHS’s successful strategy to work with international partners to reduce unlawful migration and end the exploitation of children by smugglers and cartels, and then they would have had the opportunity to participate in an unmoderated question and answer session. For the benefit of all the attendees and members of the press, the Department has released the Acting Secretary’s remarks as prepared."

The prepared marks are included in the announcement.  Those remarks end as follows:

"In closing, I am privileged to work alongside the Department’s extraordinary workforce, and I can tell you that this crisis and the coverage of it, have fallen heavily on them. They have fought to maintain security at the border, strengthen integrity of the system, and with innovation and heart, care for vulnerable populations. I am proud of the job they have done with heart and compassion in very trying circumstances. They deserve our support and thanks.

Going forward, we need a higher-minded dialogue on immigration. In our media, in Congress, and with legal experts. This year marked the third crisis surge in 5 years. We have taken key actions to address it, but durable solutions depend on Congressional action to address the weaknesses in our laws that have incentivized these unprecedented flows.

More broadly, migration crises cannot be addressed by any destination country alone. We must create a sense of shared responsibility--and build the reality of effective capability and institutional capacity--with our partners in the region, or our progress will not be sustainable.

Thank you for the opportunity to engage this morning—I look forward to the rest of our dialogue."


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