John Kelly dismisses some DREAMers as 'too lazy to get off their asses'

John Kelly.
(Image credit: Zach Gibson-Pool/Getty Images)

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly claimed Tuesday that some DREAMers are "too lazy to get off their asses" and register for government protections. Kelly's remarks came as he was asked about immigration legislation proposed by President Trump that would create a path to citizenship for DREAMers — young undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children — in exchange for funding for his Mexico border wall.

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Kelly noted there are nearly 700,000 DREAMers registered and protected from deportation under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. Kelly said Trump's proposed immigration deal, which Democrats in Congress oppose, was "generous" because it extends the possibility of citizenship even to DREAMers who are not registered under DACA. He claimed that "the difference [in numbers] between 690 [thousand DACA recipients] and 1.8 million [DACA eligible immigrants] were the people that some would say were too afraid to sign up … [or] were too lazy get off their asses."

Kelly said that if anything, Trump's proposed immigration deal was actually pretty radical: "[A path to citizenship is] beyond what anyone could have imagined, where you're on the right or the left." Politico also reported that Kelly thought it unlikely that Trump would extend the March 5 deadline to offer protections to DACA recipients, should Congress fail to pass immigration reform. "I'm not so sure the president ... has the authority to extend it," Kelly said, citing the Trump administration's belief that President Obama's DACA policy was unconstitutional. He added: "I would certainly advise against it."

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The Associated Press reports that Kelly did, however, assure reporters that DACA recipients "[would not be] a priority for deportation" if Congress is unable to come to an agreement on immigration reform.

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