“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,” Kelly added.
Democrats who have been part of the negotiations between the White House and Congress to strike a deal on immigration rebuked Kelly’s remarks on Twitter.
Trump likely won’t extend deadline
“Mr. Obama established the program, and it was considered to be unconstitutional, not based on any law,” he told reporters, Politico wrote. “So the extension, I’m not so sure the President, this President, has the authority to extend it.”
Kelly added he would not recommend extending the deadline as it would give Congress more time, and Congress doesn’t work well without a deadline.
“What makes them act is pressure,” Kelly said of Congress, the Post wrote.
The March 5 target date is also up in the air. Trump announced the date last fall, saying his administration would phase out DACA by letting the two-year protections and work permits issued under the program expire without the option to renew them. But a federal judge issued an order stopping the President’s plan to phase out DACA, and DHS has since resumed processing applications for renewals for all the recipients who had protections in September.
The chairwoman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, argued that there’s a “tiny silver lining” in Kelly’s comments in that it removes ambiguity and adds urgency to act.
“I think that puts the right kind of leverage — not that I agree with the White House strategies, typically — but that puts the right kind of leverage on the Senate,” Lujan Grisham,a New Mexico Democrat, told CNN.
Kelly and McConnell’s meeting covered a range of topics, including immigration and keeping the government open, a White House official said.
CNN’s Dan Merica and Tal Kopan contributed to this report.
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