Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) on Tuesday said he was “not sure” what President Donald Trump meant when he told young immigrants granted legal status by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) not to worry.
The Trump administration is expected to end the program, which shields nearly 800,000 young undocumented immigrants from deportation.
Asked on MSNBC what he would tell individual DACA recipients who are worried that Trump may end the program, Kobach said they should be “grateful” for getting “the best free public education in the western hemisphere” paid for by “taxpayers.”
“They’re also paying taxes when they’re here as DREAMers. So they’re not relying on the American taxpayer. They’re relying on themselves as well, right?” MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson responded.
“No, that’s not correct. The vast majority do not pay enough in taxes to compensate for the benefits that they are receiving from the government,” Kobach replied. “So they’re net takers from the system.”
“Right, but that’s not correct. That’s not sort of what we’re talking about here,” Jackson replied.
She pressed Kobach on Trump’s remark in April that DACA recipients should “rest easy” about his administration’s immigration policies.
“How is this consistent then, ending DACA, with the President’s promise to take care of DREAMers, that these DREAMers should rest easy?” Jackson pressed. “How does that square?”
“Well, I’m not sure what the President meant when he said rest easy,” Kobach said. “And, you know, who knows.”
“He probably meant they should rest easy!” Jackson interjected.
Trump on Tuesday indicated that he would stick Congress with the job of coming up with a replacement for the DACA program.
“Congress, get ready to do your job — DACA!” he tweeted.