White House Chief of Staff John Kelly says undocumented immigrants entering the US ’don’t have the skills’

In a wide-ranging interview with NPR published on Thursday, White House chief of staff John Kelly weighed in on the issue of undocumented immigration.

When asked about the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy and its impact on immigrant families, Kelly said, the vast majority “are not bad people.”

“But they’re also not people that would easily assimilate into the United States, into our modern society. They’re overwhelmingly rural people. In the countries they come from, fourth-, fifth-, sixth-grade educations are kind of the norm. They don’t speak English; obviously that’s a big thing…They don’t integrate well; they don’t have skills,” Kelly added.

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Kelly said he sympathizes with their reasons for coming to the U.S., but “the laws are the laws.”

His remarks have sparked a flurry of reactions on social media.

“Immigrants have successfully populated America since it’s inception. The only native to America is the Native American. Have the rest of us been largely unsuccessful?” wrote one tweeter.

“Being a nation of immigrants is what has made this country unique and powerful,” commented another Twitter user.

“The Irish in the 19th Century mainly arrived without skills. They were fleeing starvation,” someone else tweeted. “They were rural and took whatever work they could when they got to the US.”