Gen. John Kelly, now former White House chief of staff, takes credit for moving President Donald Trump from the campaign promise of a concrete border wall to something less obtrusive, according to an exclusive exit interview with the L.A. Times.
"To be honest, it's not a wall," Gen. Kelly told the Times.
Kelly was originally the secretary for Homeland Security before becoming the White House peace keeper, and he told the Times he had brought the message of what was needed at the southern border to President Trump at the White House, having talked to the "salt-of-the-earth, Joe-Six-Pack folks" from Customs and Border Patrol folks who "actually secure the border."
"They said, 'Well, we need a physical barrier in certain places, we need technology across the board, and we need more people,'" Gen. Kelly told the Times. "The president still says 'wall' — oftentimes frankly he'll say 'barrier' or 'fencing,' now he's tended toward steel slats.
"But we left a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it."
As the former head of Southern Command from Latin America to the U.S.-Mexico border, Kelly did acknowledge "we do have an immigration problem," but it has to be resolved by Congress and not the White House, military, or border patrol bearing all of the burden.
"Illegal immigrants, overwhelmingly, are not bad people, I have nothing but compassion for them, the young kids," Kelly told the Times.
". . . One of the reasons why it's so difficult to keep people from coming — obviously it'd be preferable for them to stay in their own homeland, but it's difficult to do sometimes, where they live — is a crazy, oftentimes conflicting series of loopholes in the law in the United States that makes it extremely hard to turn people around and send them home."
And once they get in, it is far too easy to stay, Kelly added to the Times.
"If we don't fix the laws, then they will keep coming," he told the Times. "They have known, and they do know, that if they can get here, they can, generally speaking, stay."
The solution, short of new laws and actually enforcing them, might be to actually help fix the countries they want to flee, including cutting off illegal drug smuggling.
"If you want to stop illegal immigration, stop U.S. demand for drugs and expand economic opportunity," Kelly told the Times.
© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.