White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said on Tuesday that even if existing protections for "Dreamers" expire and Congress is unable to come up with a solution, they would not be targeted for deportation. Kelly made these comments to a group of reporters at the Capitol.

A "Dreamer" is someone who was brought to the United States illegally as a child. President Donald Trump's immigration proposals have tied a path to citizenship for these people with funding for additional border security, including a wall on the Mexican border, and cuts to other immigration programs.

In 2012, then-President Barack Obama created the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which was expanded in 2014 to cover more people brought to the United States as children. The work permits distributed through DACA expire on March 5, 2018.

Kelly further elaborated that he does not think Trump will extend the DACA deadline, as this is possibly beyond the scope of executive power. However, Congress can pass a bill that would ensure these protections.

In a Jan. 10 column, Archbishop José Gomez expressed concern for the estimated 125,000 DACA recipients who live within the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, all of whom could face deportation when the program ends in March.

"It would be cruel to punish them for the wrongs of their parents, deporting them to countries of origin that they have never seen, where they may not even know the language," Archbishop Gomez wrote.