Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois personally attacked White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly for serving the Trump administration as it moves to phase out the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
“General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear. He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President’s actions by ‘just following orders,'” Gutierrez said in a statement issued hours after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that DACA will be phased out.
Gutierrez, who never served in the military himself, argued that Kelly is reneging on a commitment to protect the 800,000 so-called “Dreamers” shielded from deportation by the 2012 policy directive.
“General Kelly, when he was the head of Homeland Security, lied straight to the faces of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus about preventing the mass deportation of DREAMers. Now as Chief of Staff, this former general is executing the plan to take away their lifeline and taking steps to criminalize young people who live and work here legally,” the congressman said.
Sessions argued that responsibility lays with Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform, and expressed hope that the six-month phase out period for DACA will act as a deadline for a legislative solution.
GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois held a press conference Tuesday afternoon to draw attention to their bipartisan immigration reform legislation, the DREAM Act, which provides a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who formerly qualified for deportation amnesty under DACA.
Gutierrez is a vocal advocate for immigrants and has himself been arrested on three separate occasions for protesting perceived injustice in state and federal immigration policy. Most recently, Gutierrez was arrested along with roughly 30 fellow protesters outside the White House during a gathering commemorating the fifth anniversary of DACA in mid-August.
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