Posted on October 15, 2019

Acting Homeland Security Chief Kevin Mcaleenan Walks Out of Immigration Conference After Multiple Attempts to Speak over Protesters

Sunny Kim, CNBC, October 7, 2019

Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan on Monday walked out of an immigration conference in Washington after multiple attempts to speak over protesters.

McAleenan, who was a keynote speaker at the conference, was met with protesters in the crowd who yelled, “When immigrants are under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!”

{snip} McAleenan said he would like to discuss the challenges the agency has faced over the past year with the immigration crisis, “above the politics and the daily news cycle.” But after persistent shouts, McAleenan walked off the stage without delivering his speech.

The demonstrators also shouted names of children who lost their lives in immigration detention centers such as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, the 16-year-old who died in a south Texas ICE facility one day after being diagnosed with influenza, according to NBC News. The conference comes on the heels of President Donald Trump’s proclamation Friday that seeks to bar legal immigrants from entry if they cannot prove they can obtain health insurance.

The Department of Homeland Security said in a statement: “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 added that the attendees would have learned about the agency’s “successful strategy to work with international partners to reduce unlawful migration and end the exploitation of children by smugglers and cartels.”


“By drowning out the secretary’s remarks, the protestors deprived immigration attorneys, service providers, journalists, advocates, business leaders, law students, and many others in the public who were in the audience from hearing his point of view and engaging in a meaningful dialogue.”