Kelly: Some Immigrants ‘Were Too Lazy To Get Off Their Asses’ For DACA Signups

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is seen as US President Donald Trump attends a meeting at the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center in Sterling, Virginia on February 2, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MAN... White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is seen as US President Donald Trump attends a meeting at the Customs and Border Protection National Targeting Center in Sterling, Virginia on February 2, 2018. / AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

WASHINGTON (AP) — “Dreamers” protected by an Obama-era program that President Donald Trump has said will end on March 5 are not top targets for deportation as long as they lack criminal records, the White House chief of staff said Tuesday.

John Kelly also dismissed the idea of a short-term extension of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program beyond March 5 to give the administration and Congress more time to work out compromise legislation.

“What makes them act is pressure,” he said of Congress.

According to the Washington Post, Kelly said the Trump-endorsed plan to legalize the status of 1.8 million Dreamers was “stunning and no one expected it.”

“There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million,” Kelly said, per WaPo. “The difference between [690,000] and 1.8 million were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up, others would say were too lazy to get off their asses, but they didn’t sign up.”

Kelly’s remarks, to a small group of reporters at the Capitol, came as lawmakers have deadlocked in an effort to reach a bipartisan deal on protecting from deportation recipients of the program, called DACA. Barring a last-minute agreement — which seems unlikely — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has said his chamber will begin considering the issue, a debate that GOP leaders expect to start next week.

A federal judge has indefinitely blocked Trump from terminating DACA’s protections for the so-called Dreamers, who were brought to the U.S. as children and are living here illegally. The program shields them from deportation and gives them the right to hold jobs.

Many lawmakers are uneasy about what might happen to the Dreamers after March 5, and Democrats — and Trump himself — are using that uncertainty as leverage to help force a deal. Kelly’s remarks seemed aimed at easing worries that major deportations of Dreamers could begin right away.

He described a lengthy legal process that often takes years that immigrants in the U.S. illegally face before they are deported. He said an immigrant here illegally who doesn’t commit crimes “never comes onto anyone’s scope.”

He added, “They are not a priority for deportation.”

Trump has proposed creating a pathway to citizenship for up to 1.8 million immigrants covered by DACA who might potentially qualify for its protections.

In exchange, Trump wants $25 billion for border security, including money to build his much-touted wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. He also wants to curb legal immigration, restricting the relatives that legal immigrants could sponsor for citizenship and ending a lottery that distributes visas to people from diverse places like Africa.

Democrats strongly oppose limiting legal immigration, and conservatives are against giving citizenship to DACA recipients. Trump’s bill has gotten little traction in Congress.

Kelly said he doubted Trump would act unilaterally to extend DACA beyond March 5. He cited the administration’s argument that former President Barack Obama exceeded his constitutional authority in initially creating it.

He also ruled out asking lawmakers to approve a short-term extension of the program. And he said he opposed one idea mentioned in the Capitol as a possible fallback should talks on a broader bipartisan compromise fail — a one-year extension of DACA in exchange for a year’s worth of money for border security, including for building Trump’s wall.

“I would certainly advise against it,” Kelly said. “I would advise against it, I’m not the president.”

Trump said last September that he was ending the DACA program, complaining that Obama had overstepped his legal authority in creating it.

But while his 2016 election campaign was laced with anti-immigrant remarks, he’s expressed sympathy for the Dreamers and he gave Congress until March 5 to pass legislation protecting them.

Latest News

Notable Replies

  1. Just like your immigrant Irish ancestors, Mr. Kelly?

  2. once more, the true, unfettered, racist asshole emerges. Of course, that is a requirement to work for this administration. Anti-black, anti-muslim, anti-hispanic, anti-woman, anti-health benefits for the needy, anti-small business, anti-environment, hell, they are anti everything except old, white, male, rich racists just like them.

  3. The white nationalist clownshow portion of Cirque du So Lame continues unabated…

  4. Definitely the adult in the room. If the room is the KKK clubhouse.

  5. Or the clown car. I’m pretty sure “I’m the adult in the clown car” is a self-undermining brag.

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

128 more replies

Participants

Avatar for valgalky23 Avatar for marby Avatar for clunkertruck Avatar for cervantes Avatar for squirreltown Avatar for losamigos Avatar for inversion Avatar for dont Avatar for sniffit Avatar for chelsea530 Avatar for joelopines Avatar for leftcoaster Avatar for dickweed Avatar for ronbyers Avatar for katwillow Avatar for thunderclapnewman Avatar for tena Avatar for tsp Avatar for albesure Avatar for an_american Avatar for maximus Avatar for justruss Avatar for 19tibekius6 Avatar for xkenji

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: