In the latest dimension of the Trump administration’s war on undocumented immigrants, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said Tuesday that President Trump has already done more than his fair share to help undocumented young people, including those who were “too lazy to get off their asses” to apply for the DACA program.
Speaking with reporters at the Capitol, Kelly referred to Trump’s hard-right immigration proposal, which offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young undocumented immigrants—not just those who have officially gained DACA status. According to The Washington Post’s Erica Werner, Kelly used this as an opportunity to smear the young people his boss has helped to terrorize (emphasis added):
There are 690,000 official DACA recipients and the president sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million. The difference between 690 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 also said he “doubt[s] very much” that Trump would extend the program past the March 5 deadline the White House gave to Congress to come up with a permanent legislative solution when it killed the DACA program six months ago. (The fate of the program is in legal limbo after a judge temporarily blocked the administration’s push to end it.)
In recent weeks, the fate of DACA has been a bargaining chip in the ongoing debates over a longer-term spending bill to fund the government and avoid another shutdown. As the House votes today on another short-term bill to fund the federal government, Kelly’s latest remarks only increase the pressure on Congress to draft a legislative DACA “fix”—which was the administration’s preferred solution to a problem Trump and his anti-immigrant cronies created.