When John Kelly served as secretary of Homeland Security and then as White House chief of staff in the Trump administration, he helped implement one of the president’s most abusive policies on immigration, which stripped migrant children from their parents and sent them to be warehoused in shelters.
Months after leaving
the administration, Kelly is now cashing in on those policies by joining
the board of directors of a private company that runs the country’s largest
facility for unaccompanied migrant children, according to a report by CBS
News. There are levels of despicableness
in the revolving door that is Washington, DC politics, but Kelly’s
move is about as low as one can go. So much for being the adult in the
CBS reported that
Kelly joined the board at Caliburn International, the parent company of Comprehensive
Health Services, which operates the shelter in Homestead, FL, and three others for
unaccompanied migrant children in Texas.
next to an Air Reserve Base and guarded by private security contractors, has
3,200 beds and is operated by a staff of over 2,300 people.
Per the report:
During Kelly’s tenure, the administration pursued ambitious changes to immigration enforcement, and the average length of stay for an unaccompanied migrant child in U.S. custody skyrocketed.
In the past year, Comprehensive Health Services, the only private company operating shelters, became one of the most dominant players in the industry. Last August, it secured three licenses for facilities in Texas, totaling 500 beds, and in December, the Homestead facility began expanding from a capacity of 1,250 beds to 3,200.
Other members of Caliburn’s
board include former high-ranking military officials, and the company’s work
focuses on defense sector projects. Before he became Homeland Security
secretary, Kelly worked for DC Capital Partners, which now owns Caliburn.
According to CBS, from
July 2018 to last month, Comprehensive Health Services was paid $222 million to
operate the Homestead facility, and it could receive up to $341 million through
Anyone with a
beating heart and a functioning brain can see how disgusting this whole
business is. Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, who has been an outspoken critic of the
Trump administration’s immigration policies, and who had the cops called on him
last year while attempting
to visit an immigration detention center for children in Texas, called
Kelly indecent, immoral, and corrupt.
“John Kelly drove
Trump’s child separation policy that inflicted trauma on thousands of children.
Now he’ll get paid to increase profits for Caliburn – the for-profit prison
reaping mega-millions locking up migrant children,” Merkley
Several Democratic presidential candidates also criticized Kelly on
one of the cruelest immigration agendas in our nation’s history, disgraced
Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly will now profit from detaining immigrant children
and families. Unbelievable,” tweeted
candidate Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and a former Obama
Sen. Kamala Harris
called Kelly the “architect of the Trump Administration’s cruel child
separation policy.” She added:
“Now he will profit off the separation of families. It’s unethical. We are
better than this.”
“Profiting from your
own cruel policies,” added Sen.
Cory Booker. “This is disgusting.”
Warren said she has policy proposals that would make what
Kelly did illegal, if she is elected in 2020.
Harris, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand all voted no
on Kelly’s nomination as Homeland Security secretary in 2017.
Also this week, NBC
News reported that while the Trump administration was publicly stating that it
would reunite migrant families separated under the “zero tolerance” policy,
newly released emails show that officials were
in no way prepared to do so.
“We have a list of
parent alien numbers but no way to link them to children,” a Health and Human
Services official told
a top Immigration and Customs Enforcement official on June 23, 2018, three
days after Trump ended the “zero tolerance” policy, according to NBC.
Health and Human
Services, former Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and other
officials lied about all of this.
Government agencies had only enough information to reunite 60 parents with their
children, due to the lack of an effective database. Some 3,000 families were
separated under Trump’s policy.
And now Kelly, who helped oversee all of that chaos, is openly profiting from