John Kelly leading White House's immigration effort in congressional negotiations

President Donald Trump has tasked chief of staff John Kelly with shepherding his immigration proposals through Congre...

Posted: Jan 9, 2018 11:00 AM
Updated: Jan 9, 2018 11:00 AM

President Donald Trump has tasked chief of staff John Kelly with shepherding his immigration proposals through Congress, several administration officials and others familiar with the situation say, in the hopes the retired Marine general can help him fulfill core campaign promises ahead of the 2018 midterm elections.

Assigning the chief of staff to such a specific policy initiative is rare, given the top aide's duties in running White House operations and overseeing disparate factions in the West Wing. But Trump hopes Kelly can lend authority to his immigration push without sacrificing the hard-line positions he's advocated. Kelly served as Trump's first homeland security secretary and spearheaded the immigration efforts from that post in the first months of the administration.

Lawmakers will meet at the White House Tuesday to discuss immigration

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is one of the toughest issues

The push will continue Tuesday when lawmakers meet at the White House to discuss the next steps on immigration reform. Kelly will helm the meeting alongside Trump, people familiar with it said, though the prospects of striking an agreement appeared slim.

Other administration officials participating in the session include Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary; Stephen Miller, senior adviser for policy; and Marc Short, the White House legislative affairs director.

Lawmakers and the White House hope to strike an agreement on the legal status of some young undocumented immigrants. Trump warned over the weekend, however, that any plan to help the recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program would need to include authorization of a border wall, his chief campaign promise.

Democrats have resisted those demands, making the chances of any agreement slim. The DACA issue has proven one of the stickiest as lawmakers work to negotiate a spending deal that would avoid a government shutdown.

Democrats including Sens. Dick Durbin of Illinois, Dianne Feinstein of California, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Bob Menendez of New Jersey and Jon Tester of Montana will attend Tuesday's meeting, the White House said. Durbin, a lead negotiator on immigration, has rejected the White House's proposals out of hand.

Trump, meanwhile, has insisted that his wall be built and hopes Kelly can help reach an agreement with Democrats that will allow him to fulfill his campaign promise.

An administration official said Monday that Kelly has maintained a good relationship with Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York and Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California despite Trump's criticism of the congressional Democratic leaders. Officials said Trump viewed his chief of staff as the best hope of striking some type of deal.

That's left Miller, the policy adviser, to play second fiddle, officials said. Miller has been a staunch and outspoken proponent of limiting immigration to the United States, and is viewed as the White House's guiding voice on the matter.

Kelly is "more of an adult," one person familiar with the situation said, and Trump believes that with him in charge there's a better chance of getting something done. Another person said Kelly respects Miller but is the clear person in charge over him, with no question of the line of authority.

Two Democratic aides involved in the process said that while they were under the impression Kelly was playing a more robust role in the process, they didn't view him as any kind of moderating force when it came to the policy.

"None of our experiences with him at DHS would make us think that's a better deal on the policy," one aide said of the idea of dealing with Kelly instead of Miller. But the aide acknowledged that Democratic negotiators have a more extensive working relationship with Kelly -- compared to a nonexistent one with Miller.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110592

Reported Deaths: 3171
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds7731171
DeSoto655177
Harrison478481
Jackson429178
Rankin380086
Madison371092
Lee339279
Forrest292777
Jones281682
Washington250697
Lafayette241342
Lauderdale2329130
Lamar212038
Bolivar197775
Oktibbeha194154
Neshoba1795111
Lowndes173662
Panola164736
Leflore158786
Sunflower156749
Warren151854
Monroe143672
Pontotoc143019
Pike135555
Lincoln133954
Copiah133336
Marshall130026
Coahoma122836
Scott122729
Grenada119637
Simpson117648
Yazoo116933
Union113825
Holmes113060
Tate112339
Leake111839
Itawamba108724
Pearl River107456
Adams104042
Prentiss100919
Wayne97921
Alcorn94412
George93217
Marion92642
Covington90825
Tippah84820
Newton84227
Chickasaw81724
Tallahatchie81725
Winston81421
Tishomingo78640
Hancock76527
Attala76325
Clarke70948
Clay66621
Jasper66016
Walthall63427
Calhoun60912
Noxubee59516
Smith57716
Claiborne53016
Montgomery52723
Tunica51817
Lawrence48914
Yalobusha47914
Perry47522
Carroll45812
Greene44717
Stone44614
Amite41513
Quitman4096
Humphreys39916
Jefferson Davis39311
Webster36313
Wilkinson32920
Kemper31615
Benton3004
Sharkey27714
Jefferson26210
Franklin2283
Choctaw2036
Issaquena1063
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 152272

Reported Deaths: 2621
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson22300372
Mobile14273314
Tuscaloosa9886132
Montgomery9615196
Madison895192
Shelby700260
Lee643066
Baldwin636967
Marshall425348
Calhoun408459
Etowah399149
Morgan393232
Houston362332
DeKalb313326
Elmore308152
St. Clair276742
Limestone268327
Walker264192
Talladega253634
Cullman223923
Lauderdale204340
Autauga198928
Franklin198131
Jackson197914
Russell18993
Colbert188927
Dallas184527
Blount182723
Chilton178731
Escambia170328
Covington164429
Coffee16299
Dale161551
Pike130112
Tallapoosa126986
Chambers126643
Clarke126116
Marion103929
Butler99640
Barbour9819
Marengo96421
Winston88613
Geneva8297
Pickens79317
Randolph79314
Lawrence78830
Bibb78513
Hale73729
Cherokee71414
Clay70312
Lowndes69827
Bullock63417
Henry6286
Monroe6259
Washington62012
Crenshaw58830
Perry5796
Conecuh55413
Wilcox55412
Fayette54012
Macon52819
Cleburne5207
Sumter46421
Lamar4555
Choctaw38612
Greene33316
Coosa1963
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