Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill June 6, 2017.

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly testifies before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill June 6, 2017. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Warren and Jayapal Launch Probe into 'Rapid, Cynical, and Unethical' Profiteering Off Trump Child Detention Policy by Former Top Aide John Kelly

The former White House chief of staff and former head of DHS is specifically advising the company on child detention

Eoin Higgins

Two Democratic lawmakers on Thursday morning launched an investigation into a former top Trump administration official who is profiting off the White House's policy of family separation and child detention.

"General Kelly's role in promoting and helping execute these cruel immigration policies remains a stain on his decades of public service."
—Sen. Elizabeth Warrn and Rep. Pramila Jayapal

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) sent an open letter (pdf) to the head of Jim Van Dusen, the CEO of Caliburn International, which recently hired former Gen. John Kelly, who ran President Donald Trump's Department of Homeland Security until January 2, 2019, and later became White House chief of staff. 

Caliburn manages Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. (CHSi). CHSi runs the Homestead Temporary Shelter for Unaccompanied Children in Florida as well as three facilities in Texas. All four CHSi-run shelters are used to house child victims of President Donald Trump's zero tolerance policy on migration. According to Warren and Jayapal, the Florida facility could receive $340 million in federal funding in just six months.

In their letter to Van Dusen, Warren and Jayapal delivered a blistering assessment of Kelly's time in the administration and questioned his role in the company. 

"General Kelly's role in promoting and helping execute these cruel immigration policies remains a stain on his decades of public service," the lawmakers wrote. "It is outrageous that he now appears to be cashing in on those same policies as a board member for the company that benefitted from his actions as a government official."

As Common Dreams reported last month, Kelly joined Caliburn in early May, a move that was described at the time by Ned Price, a former advisor to President Barack Obama, as "a new degree of cruelty and awfulness" in the revolving door between government and the private sector.

Kelly, according to reporting in May from CBS News, is specifically advising the company on child detention. 

While Kelly's new position is particularly galling, Warren and Jayapal took care to frame it as part of the bigger problem of the public-private intersect in Washington. In the letter, the two lawmakers touted their Anti-Corruption and Public Integrity Act, a bill that would ban former DHS officials like Kelly from being paid by public contractors for four years after leaving office. 

"We intend to keep working to make that plan law so that actions like General Kelly's rapid, cynical, and unethical shift from the government payroll to the contractor's payroll are no longer allowed," wrote Warren and Jayapal.


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Citing Need for 'New, Inclusive Leadership,' Chuy García Files for Chicago Mayoral Race

"We have an opportunity to elect a trusted and experienced leader with a history of building coalitions and a vision for a brighter future for all Chicagoans," said the Democratic congressman.

Jessica Corbett ·


On Cyber Monday, Climate Activists Take Aim at Fashion Industry

"The fashion industry is one of the largest polluting industries globally. We can all do better, but it's on companies to make this industry better for workers, the planet, and consumers alike."

Jessica Corbett ·


Biden Accused of Selling Out Rail Workers by Urging Congress to Prevent Strike

"Biden is siding with corporate rail bosses over the rank-and-file workers who voted against this agreement," said one progressive commentator after the president urged lawmakers to take action to force through a deal without paid sick leave.

Brett Wilkins ·


Analysis Finds State Legislators Proposed 306 Bills Targeting Trans People in Past 2 Years

"Right-wing state lawmakers are obsessed with taking away the rights of trans people and we're obsessed with knocking them out of public office," said one rights group.

Julia Conley ·


Biden Mulls Sending Long-Range Missiles to Ukraine

While Ukrainians and supporters welcomed Boeing's proposal to arm Ukrainian forces with long-range precision-guided bombs, one anti-war voice accused the American military-industrial complex of "dictating the U.S. foreign policy and profiteering from wars."

Brett Wilkins ·

Common Dreams Logo