With the deadline for another government shutdown just over 48 hours away, Chief of Staff John Kelly weighed in on the issue of immigration under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on Tuesday, and his remarks suggest that President Donald Trump isn’t the only anti-immigration crusader in the White House.
Kelly told reporters that the administration’s proposal for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children was “beyond what anyone could have imagined,” and then added that it would include protections for those “too lazy to get off their asses” and apply under DACA.
John Kelly describing part of Trump immigration plan: pic.twitter.com/AG6dV7JmsN
— Erica Werner (@ericawerner) February 6, 2018
Asked if Trump would extend the March 5 deadline to reach a deal on DACA or start deporting hundreds of thousands of DREAMers who have never known a home other than the United States, Kelly said, “I doubt very much” that the president would go beyond the date.
But Kelly’s comments about “lazy” DACA recipients aren’t in the least bit in line with the facts, as ThinkProgress notes:
“It’s true that an estimated 1.8 million people are eligible for the DACA program which came into fruition in 2012, according to the Immigration Policy Council. But the 1.8 million figure also took into account children who had not yet met the minimum age required to apply for DACA but had otherwise met the other eligibility criteria as well as people who met all criteria except high school graduation or current school enrollment.”
And there are various reasons those eligible for DACA might not apply. Many fear that in doing so they would have to give a permanent address, meaning they could be detained on a whim by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Others failed to apply because they were given the wrong information about the program and had no idea it applied to them.
But the reason many DREAMers may have neglected to formally register under DACA is an economic one: It costs $495 to apply, and many of the young immigrants don’t have that kind of money after paying for the necessities of life.
So while Trump and Kelly may try to suggest that some DACA recipients are freeloaders, the evidence suggests otherwise, and derogatory remarks from the White House only serve the obscure the larger issue of helping these young people who long to stay in this country.
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