- The Washington Times - Monday, February 26, 2018

The White House strategy to fix DACA and crack down on illegal immigration has shifted to the House and building support for get-tough legislation that could see a vote by mid-March, a senior administration official said Monday.

The effort is focused on an enforcement-heavy bill by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte that the White House views as its best bet to clear the House and put pressure on reluctant Senate Democrats to strike a deal.

“The White House right now is fully committed to the Goodlatte bill and trying to pass the Goodlatte bill out of the House,” the official told The Washington Times.

The White House is convinced the House is in the driver’s seat after a the Senate earlier this month killed a series of three bills that each offering a path to citizenship for at least 1.8 million so-called illegal immigrant Dreamers, whose Obama-era DACA deportation amnesty is in jeopardy.

The Goodlatte proposal stops short of a path to citizenship, instead officially sanctioning the DACA program to grant Dreamers renewable legal residency and work permits.

In exchange, the bill would crack down on sanctuary cities, cut back on abuse of the asylum system and allow faster deportation of new illegal immigrants.

President Trump endorsed the bill early in the DACA debate.

The president has received assurances from House Speaker Paul D. Ryan that the GOP team will aggressively whip the Goodlatte bill.

The whip count currently stands in the high 100s among, significantly short of the 218 votes needed to pass the lower chamber, according to the official.

“That is really the name of the game — getting a bill out of the House,” the officials said. “I’m confident they will be able to find a way to get there.”

The 435-member House currently consists of 238 Republicans, 193 Democrats and four vacancies.

White House has given House leaders a green light to cut deals and modifying the Goodlatte bill in order to attract the 218 votes. At that point, the administration expects as many as 25 House Democrats to sign on, adding pressure on the Senate.

A Supreme Court decision Monday let stand the lower court ruling that effectively revived Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals or DACA, cancelling March 5 phaseout ordered last year by Mr. Trump.

The program continues to face legal challenges and the fate of Dreamers remains in doubt.

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