WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House chief of staff says “Dreamers” would not be a priority for deportation, even if their Obama-era protections expire and a deadlocked Congress hasn’t completed a deal to protect them.

WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 19: White House Chief of Staff John Kelly speaks during a White House briefing October 19, 2017 in Washington, DC. Kelly spoke about the process of the military notifying family members of a death, his own son’s death Afghanistan, and the controversy surrounding the news of U.S. President Trump’s phone calls to Gold Star families. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

John Kelly has told a small group of reporters at the Capitol that as long as an immigrant in the U.S. illegally has no criminal record, they are likely to stay “out of anyone’s scope” for a long time.

He says, “They are not a priority for deportation.”

Kelly says he believes President Donald Trump wouldn’t extend “Dreamers” protections beyond March 5 because he doesn’t think the president has legal authority to prolong it.

He also says Trump won’t ask Congress for a short-term extension of that program. Kelly says of lawmakers, “What makes them act is pressure.”

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