The Supreme Court’s decision to reject the Trump administration’s request on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program isn’t deterring top House Republicans from continuing their push to pass a conservative-backed immigration bill.
While, in theory, the pending court case provides lawmakers additional time to craft a legislative solution for DACA — the Obama-era initiative that extended temporary legal status to foreign nationals who illegally entered the country as minors — GOP leadership in the House said they believe Congress needs continue its work on the issue despite no longer facing its March 5 deadline.
The legislation — spearheaded by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte and House Committee on Homeland Security Chairman Michael McCaul — has faced push back from moderates and Democrats, who argue the measure leans too far to the right in its limits on family-based visas and changes to the visa lottery program.
While the measure faces an uphill battle in the Senate, the House Republican whip team has been working to get members of the conference on board.
“We’re continuing to work on the Goodlatte-McCaul bill, if you know back two weeks ago we whipped that bill so we got a good starting point of where we are and what we need to do to come together as a conference to meet those principles that President Trump laid out,” House Majority Whip Steve Scalise told reporters Tuesday. “And that is to secure the border, to start building a wall, end ‘chain migration’ and the visa lottery and ultimately to fix the DACA problem that was left on our doorstep when Barack Obama created a program that had no resolution, but ultimately had to be solved by somebody else.”
House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — who has been a key player in leading bipartisan immigration talks between chambers — said lawmakers shouldn’t put the issue on the back burner despite the court’s decision removing some of the urgency from the matter.
“I think we should still solve this problem– we met with Goodlatte. We’re continuing to work on Goodlatte’s bill to be able to move forward,” he said Monday night. “I know the March 5 deadline is now extended out, but we need to solve the problem.”