At issue is President Donald Trump's cruel and unnecessary order to separate undocumented parents and children when they are detained by federal authorities.
After acknowledging that "the vast majority of the people that move illegally into United States are not bad people," Kelly then offered up his racist views.
Undocumented immigrants are "not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society," he claimed.
"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 also defended Trump's demand families be split apart.
"They're coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws. ... The big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States, and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long."
To be clear, the law does not require children to be separated from their parents.
Kelly has made ugly remarks before. In February he said undocumented immigrants were "too lazy to get off their asses" to sign up for DACA. And before joining the Trump administration he said gay people serving openly in the armed forces would be lethal to other soldiers. "Marines will die from this," he said.
Meanwhile, many on social media are furious.
John Kelly is racist. https://t.co/3sjeXVDeCG
— Adam Jentleson (@AJentleson) May 11, 2018
— Malcolm Nance (@MalcolmNance) May 11, 2018
John Kelly would have saved himself a lot of words if he just said “they aren’t white.” https://t.co/jZ22fRNAby
— b-boy bouiebaisse (@jbouie) May 11, 2018
Word for word, this is in line with how nativists described John Kelly’s Irish ancestors, who were overwhelmingly rural and thought to be ill-suited to the rhythms and discipline of an urbanizing, industrial econony. https://t.co/pSMQUWsZbl
— Joshua Zeitz (@JoshuaMZeitz) May 11, 2018
WH COS John Kelly says that immigrants from rural areas without English skills don’t integrate into the U.S.
My dad came from rural China and spoke little English. He raised a son who held the same rank in the Obama WH (Asst. to the Pres.) that Kelly holds. I’d say we did okay. pic.twitter.com/m1fW3oqmRz
— Chris Lu (@ChrisLu44) May 11, 2018
When did John Kelly’s family arrive in America and what kind of skills did they have? https://t.co/udZB8CgNyJ
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) May 11, 2018
WH chief of staff John Kelly thinks immigrants are "unskilled" & "don't integrate well." Yet some of them end up being grandmother to a US congressman & a US mayor/cabinet secretary with the last name of Castro. Some grow up to be secretary of state with the last name Albright.
— HawaiiDelilah (@HawaiiDelilah) May 11, 2018
John Kelly ... come for the heartlessness and cruelty; stay for the old white guy racism https://t.co/K4VNhI4irZ
— Michael Cohen (@speechboy71) May 11, 2018
This is why John Kelly still works for Trump. He may think Trump is an idiot, but when it comes to the bigotry, they see eye to eye. https://t.co/bO3OSRMVmf
— Ethan Grey (@_EthanGrey) May 11, 2018
I am choosing to believe we'll survive all this and people like John Kelly will be remembered as the disgraces they are if at all, but I also don't know how we put this disgusting shit back in the bottle. https://t.co/cxbGyfO9BQ
— David Roth (@david_j_roth) May 11, 2018
Obvious pt, but worth hammering home for the record: John Kelly’s “pull up the ladders” view is ahistorical and wrong. People he’s describing = most of my own great-grandparents; all grandparents of my wife. This is an *American* story, not some “alien” story. pic.twitter.com/0RCYBamWio
— James Fallows (@JamesFallows) May 11, 2018
John Kelly’s racism is showing. https://t.co/l4HnRqQkZT
— Anthony Michael Kreis (@AnthonyMKreis) May 11, 2018
John Kelly is a CRUEL, HEARTLESS, MISOGYNISTIC & RACIST ignoramus who is not only a disgrace to the Marine uniform he once wore, he is a disgrace to this nation that has historically welcomed immigrant families, not separated them. https://t.co/6Rkbu7Ixpl
— Fernand R. Amandi (@AmandiOnAir) May 11, 2018
JOHN KELLY: Undocumented immigrants don’t have skills.
Is there anyone in the Trump admin who isn’t s full blown racist SOB?
— Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) May 11, 2018
— Joan Walsh (@joanwalsh) May 11, 2018
Image by US Dept. of Homeland Security via Flickr
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