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John Kelly: Border crossers “don’t integrate well”

Close up of John Kelly
Chief of Staff John Kelly. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly defended Attorney General Jeff Sessions' new "zero tolerance" immigration policy during an interview with NPR, saying they wouldn't "easily assimilate into the United States."

Go deeper: New policy could separate families who illegally cross the border

"Let me step back and tell you that the vast majority of the people that move illegally into the United States are not bad people. They're not criminals. They're not MS13... But they're also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society. They're overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don't speak English; obviously that's a big thing... They don't integrate well; they don't have skills. They're not bad people. They're coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws... The big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States, and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long."
— John Kelly during an interview on NPR's Morning Edition
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