Speed Reads

new year new immigration policy

How John Kelly did a 180 on family separation at the border

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is definitely okay with separating immigrant children from their parents at the border. But last year, he wasn't so sure.

There wasn't a big fuss last month when Kelly said a new policy separating children and parents could be a "tough deterrent" for immigration and refused to call it cruel in an NPR interview. But the policy is getting more controversial by the day, and everyone from former first ladies to ex-White House staffers are coming out of the woodwork to decry it.

Kelly used to think a little differently too. In March 2017, then-Secretary of Homeland Security Kelly told CNN's Wolf Blitzer the department was "considering" family separation "in order to deter more movement" across the border.

Yet when confronted by Senate Democrats later that month, Kelly dialed his comments back, saying children and parents would only be separated if illness or other extenuating circumstances demanded it, per CNN. Then Kelly totally reversed, telling CNN he didn't think he ever advocated for family separation policies at all. "We might under certain circumstances do that, but I don't think I've ever said as a deterrent or something like that," Kelly said.

Of course, a lot of things change in a year. Just look at the White House staff.