Monday, June 17, 2024

Trump’s Chief of Staff comments about ‘lazy’ DREAMers causes controversy with Hispanic lawmakers

Hispanic lawmakers on Tuesday blasted White House chief of staff John Kelly for saying President Trump’s immigration plan would generously help immigrants “too lazy” to apply for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

“The difference between 690 [thousand] 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,” said Kelly.

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) Chairwoman Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) said Kelly’s statement was inaccurate, as many of the Dreamers who didn’t apply for DACA were ineligible because of multiple reasons, including their age. The 690,000 figure refers to the number of DREAMers who were enrolled in DACA on Sept. 5, 2017, when Trump ended the program.

According to different estimates, there are as many as 4 million Dreamers in the United States. Nearly 800,000 of those Dreamers have at some point been DACA beneficiaries, but just over 100,000 lost that status by leaving the country, transitioning to a new status, failing to renew or being accused or convicted of criminal or gang activity.

Kelly’s comments were the latest flare-up in a tense relationship he’s had with the CHC since he joined the Trump administration as Secretary of Homeland Security. CHC members have at times praised Kelly for his willingness to meet with them, but they’ve also criticized his management of the administration’s immigration policy — especially after comments like the one he made on Tuesday.

“What is the stereotype that is always used? If we’re not criminals, we’re lazy,” said Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-Ill.), head of the immigration task force for the CHC.