Published: Wed, April 19, 2017
Business | By Sandy Mccarthy

DHS Secretary: Number of Illegals Crossing Southern Border Down by nearly 70%

DHS Secretary: Number of Illegals Crossing Southern Border Down by nearly 70%

A conviction for driving under the influence may start an undocumented immigrant on the path toward deportation, part of the Trump administration's new approach to immigration enforcement, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said on Sunday's "Meet The Press".

Before joining the Trump administration, Kelly served as the head of U.S. Southern Command, overseeing security operations for Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

DHS personnel will continue to investigate marijuana's illegal pathways along the network into the US, its distribution within the homeland, and will arrest those involved in the drug trade according to federal law. And I think - I place that squarely on the United States congress.

"Let me be clear, it is a potentially unsafe gateway drug", said Kelly, pointing out that the use and possession of marijuana continues to be "against federal law", even as several states have taken steps to decriminalize it.

"It's very complicated", Kelly said of the range of undocumented immigrants.

"[These are] 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. If marijuana was not a factor, sick patients would be able to get safe access to medical marijuana in every state in the country.

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On Tuesday, Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly promised to use marijuana as a justification for deporting illegal immigrants, calling it a "gateway drug".

He continued: "It's three things". Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Kelly said that in 2015 those three drugs, plus opiates, were responsible for the deaths of 52,000 people in the United States; he adds that it cost the country $250 billion.

Thanks to a decades-old immigration law influenced by the USA government's "War on Drugs" effort in the 1980s and 1990s, marijuana possession still means that non-citizens who serve out their prison sentences can head straight into federal immigration custody. "Fifty-two thousand Americans: You can't put a price on the human misery".

Kelly said increased drug arrests are not a solution. A recent Washington Post analysis found that the ICE agency arrested 21,362 immigrants between January through mid-March, among whom 5,441 immigrants with no criminal records were also arrested.

"And let me be clear about marijuana".

Despite the words pouring out of Kelly's mouth on Sunday, there is still a possibility that Sessions could eventually lean on federal law when it comes to dealing with the legal cannabis industry.

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