California Senator Kamala Harris has announced that she will vote “no” on the nomination of General John Kelly to lead the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), citing Gen. Kelly’s evasive confirmation hearing answers regarding the future of DACA. He did not and would not promise to shield current DACA recipients from deportation during the Trump Administration. As the Los Angeles Times highlights:
“Without a guarantee that people brought to the country illegally as children won’t be deported, California Sen. Kamala Harris said Thursday that she will not support John Kelly, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Homeland Security Department. ‘I am very concerned that Gen. Kelly has not been able to commit to me that he will honor the promise we made to those kids,’ she told The Times.
…California is home to an estimated one-third of the 750,000 young people brought to the country illegally as children who applied for the program. They were promised by the Obama administration that if they went through the rigorous background check, they would not be deported. In the hearing, Harris asked Kelly to honor that promise not to use DACA applications to assist in deportations. Kelly said convicted criminals and other categories of immigrants in the U.S. illegally might be a higher priority, but he acknowledged he had not had discussions with Trump’s advisors about immigration policy.
‘I can’t look these kids in the face and offer them any guarantee that this guy won’t deport them, and without that guarantee I can’t support him,’ Harris said Thursday. ‘For ethical and moral reasons, we have to honor our promise, the promise made by the United States government to these kids.’”
In response to the news of Senator Harris’s “no” vote, Deputy Director of America’s Voice Education Fund Lynn Tramonte issued the following statement:
“We commend Senator Harris for stating her principled opposition and for sticking up for DACA recipients, California’s interests, and the fundamental American values of fairness and inclusion. DACA recipients deserve peace of mind in knowing that their lives and careers can continue as planned. The American people deserve clear answers about the future of young people who are American in all but paper work. We encourage Sen. Harris’s colleagues to follow her lead and stand up for Dreamers and uphold American values.
President-elect Trump’s promise to revoke DACA work permits and expose DREAMers to deportation remains intact, despite vague and empty rhetorical assurances. If Gen. Kelly is going to be in charge at DHS, he will need to provide precise answers and thoughtful leadership – which includes preserving DACA – and not simply cede control over immigration policy to the nativist crowd inside the Trump White House and Administration.”