John Kelly Blames Jeff Sessions For Family Separation Policy

Outgoing White House chief of staff John Kelly says former Attorney General Jeff Sessions is to blame for the Trump administration’s controversial “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, which separated children from parents who illegally crossed into the U.S. from Mexico 

Kelly spoke out about the policy ― as well as his tumultuous tenure in the White House ― in an interview published in The Los Angeles Times on Sunday.

The retired Marine general told the Times that the White House had been caught off guard by Sessions’ family separation announcement in April.

Sessions “was the one that instituted the zero-tolerance process on the border that resulted in both people being detained and the family separation,” Kelly said. “He surprised us.”

Without singling out anyone, Kelly blasted the administration for failing to anticipate the massive public outcry sparked by the policy. A federal judge in June ordered a halt to most family separations at the border and demanded families affected by the policy be reunified immediately. 

In the interview, Kelly threw cold water on President Donald Trump’s longtime promise to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“To be honest, it’s not a wall,” Kelly said. “The president still says ‘wall’ — oftentimes frankly he’ll say ‘barrier’ or ‘fencing,’ now he’s tended toward steel slats. But we left (the idea of) a solid concrete wall early on in the administration, when we asked people what they needed and where they needed it.”

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Protesters demand end to President Trump's 'zero tolerance' immigration policy
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Protesters demand end to President Trump's 'zero tolerance' immigration policy
Immigration activists wrap themselves in silver blankets symbolizing immigrant children that were seen in what looked like aluminum foil blankets at a U.S.-Mexico border detention facility in Texas, while protesting inside the Hart Senate Office Building after marching to Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Actress Susan Sarandan joins with other women and immigration activists while rallying inside the Hart Senate Office Building after marching to Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Immigration activists rally inside the Hart Senate Office Building after marching to Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Hundreds of women and immigration activists wrap themselves in silver blankets symbolizing immigrant children that were seen in what looked like aluminum foil blankets at a U.S.-Mexico border detention facility in Texas, while protesting inside the Hart Senate Office Building after marching to Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Immigration activists wrap themselves in silver blankets symbolizing immigrant children that were seen in what looked like aluminum foil blankets at a U.S.-Mexico border detention facility in Texas, while protesting inside the Hart Senate Office Building after marching to Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) acknowledges activists inside the Hart Senate Office Building during a rally and march to Capitol Hill, held in opposition to the immigration policies of the Trump administration, in Washington, U.S., June 28, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Sen. Ed Markey (D-MA) addresses protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Building against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters that marched from Freedom Plaza to the U.S. Capitol demonstrate inside the Hart Senate Office Buildking against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march, with numerous arrests taking place during the sit-in at the Senate office building. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Hundreds of women crowd the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trumps immigration policy on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Hundreds of women chant 'we care' in the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trumps immigration policy on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Hundreds of women chant 'we care' in the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trumps immigration policy on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Hundreds of women crowd the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trumps immigration policy on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Hundreds of women crowd the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trumps immigration policy on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Hundreds of women crowd the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trumps immigration policy on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JUNE 28: Hundreds of women crowd the atrium of the Hart Senate Office Building to protest Trumps immigration policy on Thursday, June 28, 2018. Capitol Police moved in to make arrests to clear the area. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters gather in Freedom Plaza to march against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters gather in Freedom Plaza to march against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march outside the U.S. Department of Justice to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march past the U.S. Department of Justice t to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters demonstrate in Freedom Plaza against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters demonstrate in Freedom Plaza against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 28: Protesters march from Freedom Plaza to demonstrate against family detentions and to demand the end of criminalizing efforts of asylum seekers and immigrants June 28, 2018 in Washington, DC. More than 1,000 women from 47 states took part in the march that will end later today at the U.S. Capitol. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
People demonstrate in Washington, DC, on June 28, 2018, demanding an end to the separation of migrant children from their parents. - US President Donald Trump urged divided Republicans on June 27 to support an immigration overhaul, though it appears doomed to fai, after a judge dealt a new blow to his 'zero tolerance' border policy by ordering that separated families be swiftly reunited. The repeatedly-delayed vote marks the umpteenth attempt by a deadlocked Congress to legislate a broad solution to the problem of illegal immigration, against the backdrop of a bitter political fight over the separation of migrant families at the Mexican border. (Photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP) (Photo credit should read NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images)
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Illegal immigration into the U.S. will only subside when our country’s “demand for drugs” decreases and economic opportunity in Central America increases, Kelly added.

Critics say Kelly, previously lauded for his no-nonsense attitude, failed to rein in Trump’s worst impulses and steadfastly advocated for some of the administration’s most controversial policies, including family separation at the border.

But Kelly told the Times that critics should judge his performance in the White House based on what the president did not do while he was at his side.

Asked why he stayed in the role for 18 months, the departing chief of staff responded that “military people don’t walk away.”

Head over to The Los Angeles Times to read Kelly’s full interview.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
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