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 room.
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.
Homestead, located 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 November.
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 tweeted.
Several Democratic presidential candidates also criticized Kelly on Twitter.
“After implementing 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 Cabinet official.
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.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she has policy proposals that would make what Kelly did illegal, if she is elected in 2020.
Warren, Booker, 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 it.