Yeganeh Torbati and Richard Cowan, Reuters, October 3, 2017
A U.S. official told Congress on Tuesday it would be “rational” to legislate a path for citizenship for illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children, but within hours the administration backtracked, saying his comments did not state the views of President Donald Trump.
At a Senate hearing, Republican Senator John Kennedy asked Homeland Security official Michael Dougherty about Dreamers. “Should they be allowed to stay?”
“Under a rational bill these individuals would be able to become lawful permanent residents with a pathway to citizenship,” Dougherty, assistant Department of Homeland Security secretary for border, immigration and trade policy, responded.
“So the president believes they should be allowed to stay,” Kennedy responded.
“The president, yes, would like to work with Congress to get a solution,” Dougherty said, declining to give further specifics on conditions under which Dreamers should be allowed to stay in the country.
Hours later, DHS moved to distance the administration from Dougherty’s testimony.
“Mr. Dougherty was not stating administration policy or the President’s views,” said Tyler Q. Houlton, the DHS deputy press secretary. “The White House will be issuing its priorities for immigration reform in the coming week.”
The Trump administration has sent conflicting signals on the immigration issue, a focus of Trump’s 2016 campaign. Candidate Trump promised to end DACA and ultimately fulfilled that promise, but he has also expressed sympathy for the young immigrants it benefited.