WASHINGTON, D.C.—Congressman Tom Tancredo (CO-06) was shocked to learn of the White House’s demand of House Republicans to exclude portions of the House Intelligence Bill which would prevent those who are in the United States illegally from obtaining drivers licenses, speed up the deportation process, and bar the use of the Matricula Consular card, which the FBI has already testified before Congress as being too susceptible to fraud for official use.
“This last minute switch by the White House now puts in jeopardy the most significant border security enhancements we’ve seen in years,” said Tancredo, chairman of the House Immigration Reform Caucus. “I sincerely hope that the White House is not seriously thinking about walking away from this effort in the interest of political expediency in a few states.”
The legislation was originally written with the assistance of the Bush Administration, who initially signed off on the early language, including the landmark immigration reform measures.
Tancredo concluded, “The House Leadership had the courage to implement what the bi-partisan 9/11 Commission referred to as a necessary policy change for the U.S. in order to prevent another attack, and I would hate to think the administration lacked the nerve to do the same.”
Amy Fagan, Washington Times, Oct. 5
House Republican leaders assured members last night that they will retain provisions in their intelligence-overhaul legislation that would crack down on illegal aliens’ obtaining driver’s licenses, allow easier deportation and limit the use of foreign consular cards.
“We said we were going to stick with them and try to explain them better to the American people,” said John Feehery, spokesman for House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert, Illinois Republican.
In a House Republican conference meeting last night, some members questioned party leaders about a report in The Washington Times that the White House wanted those provisions stripped, said a Republican member who attended the meeting and spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Leaders “implied in the meeting” that the White House “wasn’t objecting specifically or vociferously to provisions still in the bill,” the member said.
The Times reported in editions yesterday, citing a congressional source familiar with the bill, that White House officials “have expressed desire to kill some of the immigration provisions,” which are backed by groups favoring stricter immigration rules and by 9/11 Families for a Secure America.
Although at least one Republican expressed concern with the provisions, there seemed to be “overwhelming support” in the conference for retaining them, the member said.
The House bill restricts federal employees’ acceptance of consular identification cards issued by other nations, which the Government Accountability Office said last week helps illegal aliens evade immigration law.
The bill also would set standards for driver’s licenses that would make it tougher for illegal aliens to obtain them and for temporary visitors to keep licenses past their visa expiration.
The legislation also would expedite deportation of illegal immigrants and curtail court reviews of deportation proceedings.