DHS chief Kelly: Policy shift means DUIs could lead to deportation

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  April 17, 2017 at 6:45 AM
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April 17 (UPI) -- Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said a wider array of crimes could lead to deportation of undocumented immigrants under a Trump policy shift, including driving under the influence.

"It is fair to say that the definition of criminal has not changed, but where on the spectrum of criminality we operate has changed," Kelly told NBC News on Sunday.

Kelly's comment follows a speech by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week in which he described a "Trump era" of increased enforcement of immigration laws aimed at reducing criminal activity.

Kelly said it was "unlikely" for DUIs to lead to deportation under former President Barack Obama's administration. Kelly said that has now shifted under President Donald Trump.

"Even a single DUI, depending on other aspects, would get you into the system," Kelly added. "You have to remember that there's a system -- a legal justice system, and the law deports people."

The DHS in March said there was a 40 percent decrease in illegal crossings from Mexico into the United States from January to February, which follows a downward trend in recent years.

Kelly also said that reports of plans to hire thousands of immigration officers -- which Trump called a "deportation force" at times during the campaign trail -- was "a law enforcement force."

"Men and women who will do their jobs in the future as they've done them in the past. And that is execute and uphold the nation's laws," Kelly said.

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