Speed Reads


John Kelly: 'The vast majority' of undocumented immigrants 'don't have skills' and 'don't integrate well'

John Kelly, President Trump's chief of staff, is glad he's in the White House despite "times of great frustration." In fact, he wishes he'd arrived earlier, he told NPR on Friday.

Kelly is on board with the administration's new "zero tolerance" policy on illegal immigration, which will prosecute any undocumented immigrant and separate some children from their parents upon crossing the border. He doesn't make the rules, Kelly argues, he just follows them, even though he claims to be sympathetic to immigrants' plight.

"The vast majority of the people that move illegally into United States are not bad people," said Kelly. "But they're also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They're overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don't speak English."

Kelly additionally told NPR that he spends up to eight hours a day with Trump and thinks he's a "super smart guy" who made the right move in withdrawing the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal. Regarding the investigation into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian interference in the 2016 election, Kelly said the president is "somewhat embarrassed" that it's still going on.

His views diverged from Trump's in that he believes immigrants who have been in the U.S. for many years under Temporary Protected Status should be given a path to citizenship, but alas, "the laws are the laws." Undocumented immigrants in general "don't integrate well," he said, and simply "don't have skills." Listen to the full interview at NPR.