Dems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy'

Dems confront Kelly after he calls some immigrants 'lazy'
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Democrats scrambling to protect so-called Dreamers confronted White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE on Tuesday night after he referred to some immigrants as “lazy."
 
“We kind of challenged him on that today,” said Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinLet's stop treating student borrowers like second-class citizens Trump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw Hillicon Valley: Trump takes flak for not joining anti-extremism pact | Phone carriers largely end sharing of location data | Huawei pushes back on ban | Florida lawmakers demand to learn counties hacked by Russians | Feds bust 0M cybercrime group MORE (D-Ill.), emerging from an immigration meeting in the Capitol office of House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin Owen McCarthyOn The Money: Treasury rejects Dem subpoena for Trump tax returns | Companies warn trade war about to hit consumers | Congress, White House to launch budget talks next week | Trump gets deal to lift steel tariffs on Mexico, Canada Congressional leaders to launch budget talks with White House RNC chair on Alabama abortion bill: I would have exceptions for rape, incest MORE (R-Calif.). 
 
During a visit to the Capitol earlier in the day, Kelly had touted President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump calls for Republicans to be 'united' on abortion Tlaib calls on Amash to join impeachment resolution Facebook temporarily suspended conservative commentator Candace Owens MORE’s offer to protect those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which the president rescinded in September. Kelly suggested that those who were eligible but declined to enroll were "too lazy."
 
“There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the president sent over what amounts to be two and half times that number, to 1.8 million,” Kelly said during his visit.
 
“The difference between 690 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.”
 
Activists on and off of Capitol Hill pounced on the remarks, arguing that many Dreamers avoided the DACA program for fear of revealing their immigration status to federal authorities.
 
“I don’t know the motive why all of those who could have didn’t apply. Some were afraid — very afraid,” Durbin said. “They’ve spent their whole lives saying, ‘Live in the shadows and don’t let the government know you’re here, because you’re undocumented.’ And it was scary for them to step up and sign up. And some of their parents begged them not to.
 
“I think that was the dominant reason that such a large number did not sign up.”
 
Durbin said Kelly’s remarks were raised during Tuesday’s meeting by Rep. Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton Hoyer5 things to watch as Trump, Dems clash over investigations GOP lawmaker: Trump has engaged in multiple actions that 'meet the threshold for impeachment' Maxine Waters: Parts of Trump immigration plan are 'very racist' MORE (D-Md.), the minority whip. Hoyer has been in the middle of the weeks-long negotiations between the deputy leaders of each chamber attempting to reach a DACA agreement before Trump’s March 5 deadline. The Republicans in those talks include McCarthy and Sen. John CornynJohn CornynTrump's immigration push faces Capitol Hill buzzsaw The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate Sinema, Gallagher fastest lawmakers in charity race MORE (R-Texas). 
 
Afterwards, Hoyer declined to comment on the exchange.
 
“I’m not going to get into specific discussions,” he said, “because I don’t think that’d be helpful.”
 
Kelly, for his part, left the meeting still doubting the motives of those immigrants who failed to enroll in DACA, but used tamer language than he did earlier in the day. 
 
"I will take some points that, OK, some of them hadn't heard about it — hard to believe," he said. "And then I suppose there's another small percentage that didn't trust President Obama, which is kind of hard to believe."
 
“But that leaves a lot of people that I guess just didn't get around to signing up over a six-year period." 
 
Kelly characterized DACA recipients as "overwhelmingly good people.”
 
The Kelly controversy aside, the negotiators said Tuesday night’s talks yielded little progress. 
 
“There are still wide gaps between our positions, with the Republicans and with the White House,” said Durbin. “But we’ve agreed to keep talking, so we’ll be back at it tomorrow.”
 
Hoyer said the disagreement still revolves around what enforcement provisions should accompany the DACA protections. He’s been pushing a package that would combine the DACA language with tougher border security. Trump and the Republicans have recently insisted on two additional provisions: one reducing family-based immigration and another eliminating the diversity visa program.  
 
“There was some progress, in that we discussed specifics,” Hoyer said as he left the meeting. “No agreements.”
 
 
“We asked Cornyn that, and he either doesn’t know or at least he didn’t say,” Hoyer said. 
 
Durbin said he trusts McConnell to oversee a fair process. 
 
“Sen. McConnell promised that we would a have a level playing field … and I take him at his word,” he said. “I think it’ll be a shell bill of some nature that will give us an open opportunity to offer amendments.”