White House chief of staff John Kelly says undocmented immigrants 'don't have skills' to assimilate in American society
White House chief of staff John Kelly on Thursday said that he believes a majority of undocumented immigrants who are coming into the United States after crossing the southern border do not have the "skills" to assimilate in the American society. Kelly cited the reason as the immigrants being poorly educated, according to reports.
"Let me step back and tell you that the vast majority of the people that move illegally into United States are not bad people. They're not criminals. They're not MS13. But they're also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States into our modern society," Kelly told NPR in an interview released late Thursday. MS13 is an international criminal gang which originated in Los Angeles, US.
Kelly added that the undocumented immigrants are "overwhelmingly rural people" from countries where "fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm", and said that they do not even speak English.
"They don't integrate well; they don't have skills. They're not bad people. They're coming here for a reason. And I sympathize with the reason. But the laws are the laws," the former secretary of the Department of Homeland Security continued.
NPR reported that Kelly has backed the DHS' decision to end the temporary protected status (TPS) for immigrants from Haiti, El Salvador, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sudan, and more recently Honduras.
The chief of staff, however, suggested the idea of providing a path of citizenship for over 425,000 immigrants, several of whom have lived in the US legally under TPS for decades, reports state.
"I think we should fold all of the TPS people that have been here for a considerable period of time and find a way for them to be on a path to citizenship," Kelly added.
Kelly was also previously accused of humiliating undocumented immigrants in February by suggesting some of them were "too afraid" or "too lazy" to sign up for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, reports state.
The White House chief of staff, after a meeting with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Capitol Hill, said: "There are 690,000 official DACA registrants and the President sent over what amounts to be two and a half times that number, to 1.8 million."
"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, according to The Washington Post reports.