DACA program protecting immigrants from deportation is at risk, says DHS Sec. Kelly

Some congressional Democrats are deflated after a visit from Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly this week.

Kelly met privately with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, to alert them that the Trump Administration may stand by and let legal challenges defeat the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, program that permits people brought to the states illegally as children stay on temporary visas.

Since March, 770,477 people had been granted temporary status through DACA waivers.

(AP)

“I was encouraged that Secretary Kelly said he personally supports the DACA policy,” Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) told Fox News. “But, you know, also discouraged that he couldn’t say the administration would defend it or not.”

The program would need to be defended in court if the Trump administration doesn’t rescind it fully by September 5. That’s because officials in 10 states are threatening to file suit challenging the constitutionality of DACA, which was created by an executive order signed by President Obama.

Some Republicans say they look forward to the litigation.

“Hats off to the state Attorneys General that have brought this,” Rep Steve King (R-IA) told FOX News.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18:  Pro-immigration activist Omar Martinez attends a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court April 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Supreme is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of United States v. Texas, which is challenging President Obama's 2014 executive actions on immigration - the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 18: Pro-immigration activist Omar Martinez attends a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court April 18, 2016 in Washington, DC. The Supreme is scheduled to hear oral arguments in the case of United States v. Texas, which is challenging President Obama's 2014 executive actions on immigration - the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals (DACA) and Deferred Action for Parents of American and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) programs. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images) (Getty Images)

But ire across the aisle is now directed at Secretary Kelly.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) slammed Kelly as the most “unknowledgable member of the cabinet that I’ve ever met in my 25 years here,” and accused Kelly of “trying to make a fool out of us by trying to say, ‘oh it’s the courts’.”

The sentiment doesn’t quite square with Kelly’s own public appearances on Capitol Hill this summer.

En esta foto del 21 de abril de 2012, el representante demócrata Luis Gutiérrez, a la derecha, acompañado por el mexicano Gabino Sánchez, al centro, y miembros de la familia de Sánchez, habla durante una conferencia de prensa en Charlotte, Carolina del Norte. Sánchez, quien se encuentra en proceso de deportación después de haber sido arrestado por manejar sin licencia de conducir, estará presente en una audiencia sobre su caso el martes. (Foto AP/Que Pasa Mi Gente de Charlotte Newspaper Courtesy)

En esta foto del 21 de abril de 2012, el representante demócrata Luis Gutiérrez, a la derecha, acompañado por el mexicano Gabino Sánchez, al centro, y miembros de la familia de Sánchez, habla durante una conferencia de prensa en Charlotte, Carolina del Norte. Sánchez, quien se encuentra en proceso de deportación después de haber sido arrestado por manejar sin licencia de conducir, estará presente en una audiencia sobre su caso el martes. (Foto AP/Que Pasa Mi Gente de Charlotte Newspaper Courtesy) (AP)

A month ago, he told lawmakers that to make temporary status permanent for young people brought here illegally, they should turn President Obama’s executive order into legislation.

“I’m not going to let you off the hook,” Kelly told Congress.  “You’ve got to solve this problem.”

Kelly’s boss, President Donald Trump, told reporters aboard Air Force One this week that he doesn’t know what will happen with DACA.

“It’s a decision that I make, and it’s a decision that’s very, very hard to make,” Trump said.