Twenty Democratic members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus pressed Kelly for assurances that he would help preserve the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which grants deportation relief and access to work permits to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. at a young age.
Kelly told the lawmakers that although he personally supports DACA, he can’t guarantee that the administration would defend it in court. He also said that he’d consulted attorneys who told him the program wouldn’t survive a legal challenge.
“It’s not a pretty picture,” Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), who attended the meeting, told reporters. “The legal authorities that he’s spoken to suggest that DACA cannot be sustained legally. We have a different view.”