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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: 38567

Reported Deaths: 1290
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds318859
DeSoto211220
Madison158940
Jones126651
Harrison126017
Rankin123420
Forrest110544
Neshoba105978
Lauderdale98383
Scott84315
Jackson82820
Washington80615
Copiah69616
Leake66420
Lee66223
Grenada64713
Oktibbeha64428
Lamar6257
Warren61622
Holmes61442
Leflore58856
Wayne58819
Yazoo5847
Lowndes56917
Sunflower5659
Lincoln54436
Pike53724
Lafayette5364
Panola5176
Monroe49139
Simpson4803
Covington4735
Bolivar46318
Tate43113
Pontotoc4066
Attala39424
Adams39221
Newton38410
Marion36312
Pearl River32332
Claiborne32212
Winston31413
Chickasaw31319
Marshall3104
Jasper3016
Walthall29210
Noxubee2869
Clay27411
Union26611
Smith26312
Coahoma2516
Clarke24125
Tallahatchie2394
Lawrence2222
Yalobusha2169
Montgomery1973
Carroll19611
Kemper18914
Calhoun1875
Humphreys18410
Itawamba1638
Hancock16214
Tippah15411
Webster13611
Jefferson1353
Prentiss1344
George1313
Jefferson Davis1304
Tunica1293
Greene12510
Tishomingo1251
Amite1243
Alcorn1232
Quitman1111
Wilkinson1079
Perry994
Stone852
Choctaw794
Franklin602
Benton580
Sharkey540
Issaquena111
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 60158

Reported Deaths: 1200
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson7449176
Mobile5349157
Montgomery4732118
Madison290112
Tuscaloosa283754
Marshall213313
Shelby188027
Lee179337
Baldwin149912
Morgan14897
DeKalb11457
Etowah113614
Walker113537
Elmore111825
Dallas103312
Franklin97016
Unassigned84228
Russell7610
Autauga74318
Limestone7254
Cullman7136
Chambers69932
Houston6848
St. Clair6714
Lauderdale6647
Tallapoosa66272
Butler65931
Calhoun6426
Colbert6138
Escambia56212
Jackson5113
Pike5016
Lowndes49723
Coffee4734
Covington45214
Talladega4517
Dale4283
Barbour4263
Bullock38110
Marengo38111
Hale37523
Chilton3693
Blount3671
Marion35514
Clarke3396
Wilcox3328
Winston3167
Sumter30613
Randolph28610
Monroe2833
Pickens2827
Perry2702
Conecuh2558
Bibb2382
Macon2359
Choctaw22112
Greene2029
Washington1679
Henry1653
Lawrence1590
Crenshaw1433
Cherokee1407
Geneva1100
Lamar961
Clay942
Fayette923
Coosa681
Cleburne621
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