Tags: Donald Trump | Homeland Security | Immigration | Trump Administration | john kelly | border wall | daca

John Kelly: Trump's Immigration Stance Has Evolved

(Fox News' "Special Report")

By    |   Wednesday, 17 January 2018 06:58 PM

White House chief of staff John Kelly said Wednesday that President Donald Trump's stance on immigration has evolved since he announced his presidential aspirations, which includes softening his stance on building a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

After The Washington Post reported Kelly told Democratic lawmakers some of Trump's campaign promises were "uninformed," Kelly appeared on Fox News and was asked about what he said.

"I pointed out to the members that they say things during the course of campaigns that may or may not be fully informed," Kelly told Bret Baier. "This president, if you've seen what he's done, he has changed the way he's looked at a number of things. He has adjusted the way he's looked at the south Asia strategy, Afghanistan. He's changed his attitude toward the DACA issue and even the wall."

Kelly then explained how he has briefed Trump about the U.S. border with Mexico and how some parts of it are so remote or have a natural barrier that a manmade physical barrier is not necessary.

"He has evolved in the way he's looked at things," Kelly said. "Campaigning to governing are two different things, and this president has been very, very flexible in terms of what's within the realm of the possible."

Regarding Trump's campaign promise Mexico would pay for whatever wall is built, Kelly said the administration has some ideas that deal with visas and renegotiating NAFTA. And he noted roughly 800 miles of wall are needed, which would cost about $20 billion.

Kelly, a retired Marine general, also spoke about the fiasco last week that resulted in emotions running high during a White House meeting with a bipartisan group of lawmakers regarding immigration. He said Trump talked to Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., on Thursday morning and was told there was a potential immigration deal, but Kelly wanted to make sure Trump heard from all the key players in the working immigration group before making a decision.

"I don't want the president to hear one side of the story," Kelly said. "The president likes to talk about issues. He likes to hear everyone's side. In the course of the conversation, he said 'well, this is certainly something we can talk about but this is not what I had in mind, but it's a start point.'"

Kelly noted there is another immigration solution he learned about Wednesday that could lead to a deal.

According to a report earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security has asked for more than 700 miles of new and replacement border barrier. There are currently 654 miles of fencing, and the plan involves replacing some of that and erecting another 300 miles, which would mean that roughly half of the 2,000-mile border would have a physical barrier.

Lawmakers are trying to craft bipartisan immigration reform legislation that would include funding for a border wall, protection for the 700,000 people who have benefited from the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and changes to current immigration laws.

Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., was in the meeting with Kelly on Wednesday and said there are multiple immigration bills in Congress, but the White House is causing confusion.

"There was no direction given by the White House," Gallego said. "There doesn't seem to be anything from the White House, and that is what is causing the chaos here among not just Congress but among all the GOP right now."

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Politics
President Donald Trump's stance on immigration has evolved since he announced his presidential aspirations, which includes softening his stance on building a border wall between the United States and Mexico, White House chief of staff John Kelly said.
john kelly, border wall, daca, white house, chief of staff
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2018-58-17
Wednesday, 17 January 2018 06:58 PM
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