John Kelly says Congress has done "nothing" to fix DACA

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is firing back at Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Illinois, for an explosive statement he released shortly after President Trump's roll-back of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program was laid out. 

"General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear. He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the President's actions by 'just following orders,'" said Gutierrez in a statement on Tuesday.

In an email sent to Fox News on Sunday, Kelly responded directly to those claims, saying Congress has the "luxury" of doing nothing. 

"As far as the congressman and other irresponsible members of congress are concerned, they have the luxury of saying what they want as they do nothing and have almost no responsibility," Kelly wrote in the email. 

He added, "During my time at DHS - from 20 Jan until this moment - I have met with hundreds of members on both sides of the hill … My [message] always was 'I have bought you time to do something on DACA.'  I begged and pleaded with them. They did exactly nothing."

As Kelly noted that Gutierrez had a "right to his opinion," he maintained that the blame should not lay on Mr. Trump's shoulders, but instead on the unconstitutionality of the policy, which was implemented by former President Obama in 2012.

"Every DOJ and DHS lawyer says DACA is unconstitutional.  Every other legal scholar - right and left - says the same thing.  Trump didn't end DACA, the law did," said Kelly.  

While the memo, outlined by Sessions and the Department of Homeland Security, contains a six-month window of adjudication -- essentially allowing Congress a time frame to develop its own immigration legislation -- Kelly wrote that he is less than convinced they will act. 

"I worked and succeeded to give the congress another six months to do something.  I am not confident," said Kelly. 

Since the announcement last week, 15 states and the District of Columbia have filed suit against the Trump administration for rescinding the order.  

California Attorney General Xavier Becerra also filed a separate lawsuit on Monday, and is joined by the attorneys general from Maryland, Maine and Minnesota in the legal filings. 

  • Emily Tillett

    Emily Tillett is a politics reporter and video editor for CBS News Digital