- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 5, 2004

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.

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