DHS Secretary John Kelly tells CNN's Dana Bash that women who are worried about being deported after reporting sexual assault shouldn't be because his department isn't targeting Dreamers for deportation, and that the "911 process is anonymous, if you want it to be."
Bash asked Kelly about recent criticism from the Los Angeles Chief of Police that reports of rape and domestic violence are way down among Hispanics, and here was his response:
BASH: Well, let's talk about some of those problems, and one of them is the question of what to do about the young immigrants known as Dreamers. The president told the Associated Press on Friday that people who were brought to this country to the U.S. illegally, as children, should "rest easy" about his immigration policy, and yet Attorney General Jeff Sessions had this to say. Take a listen.
SESSIONS: Everybody in the country illegally is subject to being deported. So people come here and they stay here a few years and somehow they think they're not subject to being deported. Well, they are.
BASH: So Secretary Kelly, which is it? Are these Dreamers subject to being deported or should they rest easy, as the president said?
KELLY: Well, I’d certainly go with what the president said but the point I think the attorney general is making is they are here unlawfully, and are subject to deportation. That's what the law says. Now, what we actually do is another story and as I say, we are not targeting, my organization has not targeted these so-called Dreamers, DACA, and we have many, many more important criminals to go after and get rid of, and not the DACAS.
BASH: So, just to be specific, what is the president saying to you and what is he communicating that he wants you and your department to do? Does he want you to go after these Dreamers or is he explicitly saying leave them alone, don't target them?
KELLY: The president told me to do two things. He told me to secure the southwest border, all of our borders and of course, focusing now on the southwest border, and to take the worst of those that are in our country illegally, take them, look for them and deport them, so that's what I’m doing.
BASH: At a recent press conference the LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said there's actually been a 25 percent drop in reports of rape among the city's Latino population since the beginning of 2017, and a 10 percent drop in reports of domestic violence, with no such similar drops among other groups. Listen to what the chief said.
BECK: Imagine a young woman, imagine your daughter, your sister, your mother, your friend not reporting a sexual assault because they are afraid that their family will be torn apart by doing so.
BASH: Mr. Secretary, he is arguing that your get tough policy is making people less safe rather. What is your response?
KELLY: Well, certainly the police chief is a hero in my mind. We're obviously locally where the rubber meets the road but he's got his job to do, I’ve got my job to do. As I’ve said repeatedly, Dana, the illegal aliens we're going after are not, if you will, simple, simply here illegally. We're actually going after the very people that the sheriff references, in terms of criminals that happen to be here also illegally. And I would just highlight the fact that, you know, you can report crimes and not give your name. I mean, the 911 process is anonymous, if you want it to be.
But again, I don't have facts and figures. I haven't looked at it. I hear this a lot, that the reports are down and all that. I would just again tell the illegal immigrant community, if you are simply here illegally, we don't really have the time to go after you. We're looking for bad men and women and we're doing that very, very effectively.
BASH: I just want to be clear. You are using this for forum to send a message to women who are raped, other people who are abused and victims of domestic violence, that they should still feel comfortable to come forward and report that crime?
KELLY: I think it's their duty to do that, but yes, they should feel comfortable doing it. We are not going after people...
BASH: Without fear of getting deported?
KELLY: We are not going after... well I would say this. If they are also criminals, that's a different story. But if they're simply here illegally, and they're a victim of a crime, then they should report that crime.
Bash didn't bother to follow up and ask him how the victim of rape or domestic abuse was supposed to get that crime prosecuted anonymously.