If you believe that chief of staff John Kelly has influence, then you have to believe that President Trump is not going to be rolled by the whole DREAMer issue.
In an improptu news conference, Kelly said that he did not anticipate President Trump would extend DACA past March 5.
As for extending the deadline unilaterally, which Trump had hinted at in the past, Kelly said “I doubt very much” that the president can do so because the program was created by President Barack Obama in a way that the current administration believes is against the law.
“Mr. Obama established the program, and it was considered to be unconstitutional, not based on any law,” Kelly said. “So the extension, I’m not so sure the president, this president, has the authority to extend it.”
He said that border security and immigration reform in the guise of getting rid of the visa lottery system and chain migration had to be part of any DACA deal:
In addition to dumping the diversity visa lottery and overhauling family migration laws, Trump’s “four pillars” also includes a massive investment in border security — including a wall — as well as the pathway to citizenship for qualifying Dreamers.
“The expectation would be that would be turned into a bill and then you know, then the Congress does what the Congress does and does the best they can to come up with it,” Kelly said. Those pillars, the chief of staff said, “are fundamentally what he would sign.”
The changes to family-based migration — which would bar U.S. citizens from sponsoring parents, siblings and adult children for green cards in the future — have drawn the most fire, particularly from Democratic lawmakers.
But Kelly defended those so-called chain migration provisions and said that was as far as the administration was willing to go in negotiating changes to family-based migration policy. The proposal is sufficiently generous, Kelly argued, because the administration will continue to process the estimated 4 million people who have applied to be admitted into the United States through family sponsorship yet are waiting because of a significant backlog in available visas.
He also seemed unlikely to support allowing people not already in DACA to jump aboard:
That 1.8 million figure includes the nearly 700,000 DREAMers protected under DACA as well as the young people who would otherwise qualify but did not apply.
For those individuals, Kelly was unflinchingly hostile.
“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,” he said. “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.”
Enjoy. You can hear dentures dropping and tiny acidic progressive tears pattering on the carpet in the background.
White House chief of staff John Kelly suggests that some of those eligible for DACA “were too afraid” or “too lazy to get off their asses” to sign up for the program https://t.co/HVbMMIoRcd
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 6, 2018