White House chief: Dreamers not a priority for deportation
“Dreamers” protected by an Obama-era program that President Donald Trump has said will end 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.
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.