Homeland Security chief says opioid problem a serious threat to U.S.

Homeland Security chief says opioid problem a serious threat to U.S.”

After Attorney General Jeff Session said marijuana is "only slightly less very bad than heroin, Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that pot "is not a factor in the drug war".

Speaking with Chuck Todd Sunday on NBC's Meet the Press, Kelly said heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine are the three substances authorities should be tackling.

"They're just waiting to see what actually does happen", Kelly added.

In a speech at George Washington University, Kelly said those organizations are making a lot of money from America's drug problems.

Kelly told Sunday's "Meet The Press" with Chuck Todd his focus is on the deadly drugs coming from Latin American countries like Mexico. "What do you call this if not a deportation force?" Are the laws on the books hard to enforce and they need to be changed? There are people who came here illegally many years ago and they have married local men and women who have children. "And that is execute and uphold the nation's laws".

Democrats on the Senate Homeland Security committee released a report estimating that Trump's proposed border wall could cost $70 billion to build. Kelly has estimated its price tag at $21 billion, while congressional Republicans have put the cost at $12 billion to $15 billion.

Kelly said it's the law of the land, not the discretion of immigration agents, that carry out deportations.

Until now, DHS's activities have been guided by two executive orders Trump signed in January to boost deportations and border security, which also expanded the pool of undocumented immigrants viewed as a priority for removal. But there are 11 million people and it's very complicated. The people - you know, it's two aspects.

"It is fair to say the definition of "criminal" has not changed", Kelly said. "President Trump has recognized this and taken it on".

In March, the U.S. Border Patrol arrested about 12,100 people trying to cross the border illegally.

Critics have argued that the agency is too heavy-handed in enforcement operations, including arresting immigrants in the US illegally whose only offense is being in the country without permission.

The new guidance issued by the administration, meanwhile, directed the agency to begin finding ways to quickly ramp up hiring at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), including by suspending or eliminating requirements for potential officers to take polygraphs, physical fitness and competency tests. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times.

Civil rights groups and experts have blasted the new guidance, saying it could "almost certainly create serious misunderstandings on the border that would lead to abuse".

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