MUST WATCH: Protesters cause acting DHS Secretary to walk out of Georgetown speech

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Published on 7 Oct 2019, 15:03
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan walked off the stage at a speaking engagement at Georgetown Law School on Monday after being shouted down by audience members protesting the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

McAleenan was scheduled to be the keynote speaker at an annual immigration law and policy conference hosted by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), the Catholic Legal Immigration Network (CLINIC) and Georgetown Law, at the Washington, D.C., university. But before he even began to talk, protesters stood up and shouted: "When immigrants come under attack, what do we do? Stand up, fight back!"

Some in the audience shouted at the protesters to sit down so they could hear the DHS acting secretary speak. Doris Meissner, a senior fellow at MPI who served as a top immigration official under the Clinton administration, was to moderate the Q&A, and told the protesters they were robbing the audience of their ability to engage in a meaningful dialogue on a contentious and important topic.

DHS, in a written statement released afterward, echoed those concerns: "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."

The department, which published the secretary's prepared remarks, said those in attendance 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."

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