Tags: homeland security | john kelly | immigration | terrorism

Homeland's Kelly Emphasizes Borders Over Internal Mission

Homeland's Kelly Emphasizes Borders Over Internal Mission

President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the beginning of a meeting with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly at the White House January 31, 2017, in Washington, D.C. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

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Thursday, 09 February 2017 01:06 PM Current | Bio | Archive

There appears to be a consensus that review of Trump's recent immigration order should remain with the judges.

The integrity and nonpolitical deliberations of our courts is a fundamental tenet of our constitutional democracy. The judicial function may, nonetheless, consider the extent to which the stay of the order to ban immigrants from the seven designated countries would expose the United States and its citizens and residents to danger.

The question came up therefore whether the fight against terrorism is essentially to keep the terrorists out of the country?

It was John Kelly, chief of Homeland Security, who took this position in his Congressional testimony on Tuesday.

When the video of his testimony was viewed casually the reaction was that Kelly defended quite capably the process leading to the ban, that he is on top of the situation, and that he successfully argued in favor of an immediate lifting of the court stay.

However what casts doubt on the existence of a serious risk from immigrants on the banned list is that nationals of the concerned countries have not killed any people in the U.S. in terrorist attacks between 1975 and 2015. Every jihadist who conducted a lethal attack inside the United States since 9/11 was a citizen or legal resident.

Moreover the last minutes of his taped testimony present a serious worry about our vulnerability.

He said, “we won’t know that the individual [who entered the country] is a bad person until he actually does something bad…. until there’s the boom. [We won’t know] until they actually go into a mall and blow something up and kill people.”

The serious worry is that Homeland Security is charged with the mission to assure that the bad guys, wherever they are, don’t get to blow up anything, or, more importantly, anybody.

To keep America secure is only partially to secure our borders.

Whether its immigrants or home grown terrorists who present the risk, this third most funded cabinet department has a mission to make America safe by preventing criminal acts.

And the department has been successful. According to various studies, including by the Heritage Foundation and the Rand Corporation, scores of terrorist attacks have been foiled since 2001, with estimates going up to over 50 unsuccessful attacks. This success can certainly be attributed at least partially to the effective work of the Department of Homeland Security, with a staff of 240,000 and a budget of $41 billion.

And if we are confident the courts do not judge based on politics we can also expect that government effectiveness, through the dedication of Federal and State civil servants, does not get ignored or minimized because on the watch of a precious administration (Bush and Obama).

Mark L. Cohen has his own legal practice, and was counsel at White & Case starting in 2001, after serving as international lawyer and senior legal consultant for the French aluminum producer Pechiney. Cohen was a senior consultant at a Ford Foundation Commission, an advisor to the PBS television program "The Advocates," and Assistant Attorney General in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. He teaches U.S. history at the business school in Lille l’EDHEC. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.

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The question came up therefore whether the fight against terrorism is essentially to keep the terrorists out of the country? It was John Kelly, chief of Homeland Security, who took this position in his Congressional testimony on Tuesday.
homeland security, john kelly, immigration, terrorism
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2017-06-09
Thursday, 09 February 2017 01:06 PM
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