Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary John Kelly says illegal immigrant youths covered by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program will not be deported.
Kelly told Senate Democrats that DACA recipients, also known as ‘DREAMers,’ would not be targeted by DHS for deportation, unless they broke the law.
“By definition, they’re no longer DACA if they have a violation,” Kelly told Roll Call. “The DACA status is a commitment not only by the government towards the so-called DREAMer, but by that person to obey the law, and some of them don’t. We have not picked up, I don’t care what you read or people say, we have not in my time picked up someone who was covered by DACA.”
Roughly 750,000 illegal immigrants are covered by DACA and President Donald Trump’s administration has signaled no action thus far on ending or reforming the program. Currently, 800 work permits for illegal immigrants through DACA can be granted every day.
The Center for Immigration Studies Director Mark Krikorian told Breitbart Texas he did not find the statement “particularly remarkable,” but said he believed Kelly “was just speaking soothing words to the [illegal immigration] advocacy groups.”
“What he seems to be saying that they’re not going to go after the DACAs who don’t do anything that jeopardize their status,” Krikorian told Breitbart Texas. “That makes sense.”
Krikorian said he had serious concerns with Trump’s inaction on major reforms to DACA, citing the work permits that are still being given out under DACA.
“The more important question is why are you issuing new DACA work permits,” Krikorian said. “The whole thing should be ended, but I understand why you wouldn’t want to end it abruptly.”
“But, why are we giving it to new people?” Krikorian asked aloud.
Kelly also reassured pro-illegal immigrant groups and Senate Democrats that DHS would not be separating families at the U.S.-Mexico southern border, an idea that was previously tossed around as a possibility deter illegal immigrants from wanting to cross the border.
John Binder is a contributor for Breitbart Texas. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.