One of the hallmarks of the Trump administration has been its fierce opposition to undocumented immigration. The president came into office on a platform that included putting up a wall in between the United States and Mexico, and although he has not been able to see his wall go up yet, he has not deviated immensely from the theoretical core of his platform — paranoia about immigrants.
Through the most recent tumult marking his administration, the president has had his chief of staff John Kelly by his side. Kelly is the second chief of staff to serve in the Trump administration; the first was former RNC official Reince Priebus.
If there were any doubts about Kelly being on board with the president’s general ideas about immigrants, he has ended those doubts in a new interview with NPR.
While stepping back from the president’s past lines claiming populations of undocumented immigrants to harbor large numbers of criminals and the like, Kelly maintained that undocumented immigrants are, essentially, a menace to U.S. society thanks to them supposedly not having “skills” and it being difficult for them to “assimilate.”
‘Let me step back and tell you that the vast majority of the people that move illegally into the United States are not bad people. They’re not criminals. They’re not MS-13… But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously that’s a big thing… They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills.’
Kelly’s vision of what constitutes someone who would be an acceptable addition to American society certainly puts him at odds with the passionately pro-human rights strain of American history, besides the fact that his characterization of undocumented immigrants as all lacking skills doesn’t, apparently, come with any immediate empirical backing.
Kelly was speaking about immigration in light of the newly announced harsh anti-immigrant policies that could, among other ramifications, result in more children being separated from their families at the border.
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