Acting Homeland Security Secretary McAleenan shouted offstage by a pro-immigrant at an event at Georgetown Law School on October 8th.
When McAleenan got shouted offstage by pro-migrants, he was supposed to give his speech at annual immigration law and policy that was organized by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and Georgetown Law.
The conference was attended by current and ex-DHS officials, immigration lawyers, and pro-migrant advocates.
When McAleenan took the stage to give his speech, protesters started chanting before he began to talk. They shouted “When immigrants come under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”
Some protesters were holding posters with a statement read “hate is not normal,” while some were shouting at protesters to keep silence and sit down so they could listen to McAleenan.
The event occurs after the release of a proclamation by the White House last Friday saying that to obtain a visa, new immigrants will have to prove that they can afford their health care cost or they’ll have health care insurance.
However, Acting Homeland Security Secretary tried so many times to engage the audience but was interrupted by the audience again over again.
While trying to address the disruptions, Kevin McAleenan told: “As a career law enforcement professional, I’ve dedicated my career to protecting the right to free speech and all the values we hold dear in America.”
But he couldn’t say much as protesters immediately shouted again while event holders unsuccessfully tried a lot to convince the audience to let the speaker continue his speech.
Andrew Selee, president of the Migration Policy Institute said, “Democracy requires dialogue, it requires listening,”
Nicole Regalado, the CREDO Action campaign director, stated in a written statement after the action, “No Trump henchmen should be given a platform to spread hatred or defend the racist, xenophobic policies put into place by Donald Trump and Stephen Miller.”
Later in the day, the Department of Homeland Security released a written statement in response:
“The First Amendment guarantees all Americans the right to free speech and assembly. Unfortunately, that right was robbed from many who were scheduled to speak and attend today’s event at Georgetown. Unfortunately, the acting secretary and the audience did not get the opportunity to engage in a robust dialogue this morning due to the disruptions of a few activists.”
DHS issued prepared remarks by the Secretary saying “Event attendees would have learned more about DHS’s successful strategy to work with international partners to reduce unlawful migration and end the exploitation of children by smugglers and cartels, and then they would have had the opportunity to participate in an unmoderated question and answer session.”Bottom of Form
McAleenan in the prepared remarks insisted “If we are unable to achieve fair and expeditious immigration results, with due process, and effectively repatriate those without valid claims to remain in the U.S., more will pay smugglers and make the journey and crisis levels of arrivals will continue.”
He concluded that borders arrested huge number of migrants who had been tried illegal crossing adding it’s dropped from 133,000 in May to 51,000 in August. According to him, this progress is still not enough as illegal arrivals remain at “crisis level”.