DETROIT (AP) — Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Monday that he told members of the Detroit area's Arab-American and Latino communities that he is committed to keeping the country safe without targeting anyone based on a person's ethnicity or religious affiliation.
"Generally speaking, I think they were most interested in hearing from someone who has this job and makes no distinction between race, color, politics. It's all about protecting America," the retired Marine general said of the meetings that took place earlier Monday in Detroit's suburbs.
Kelly spoke with reporters following an afternoon tour of a U.S. Customs and Border Protection facility in Detroit just across the river from Canada. The secretary was joined by U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat and member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The White House wants to boost border security, but mostly has focused its attention on the southern border, where President Donald Trump has vowed to build a wall to stem illegal immigration.
The Trump administration also wants to restrict immigration from six majority-Muslim countries, but the president's revised executive order on the topic has been blocked by federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland.
Kelly stressed during Monday's media availability that Trump's order is not based on a person's religion, but rather is an attempt to keep the U.S. safe from the "real threat" of terrorism.
Messages left with some people who attended the meeting were not immediately returned.