The Republican-led plan to defund President Obama’s most recent actions on immigrationpassed. It was considered to be mostly symbolic. The vote was part of a bill that included the vital funding needed to continue operating the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). The final vote was 236 for the bill and 191 against it.
The lawmakers agreed to fund the DHS through September. The approved legislation contains a number of amendments intended to dismantle and prevent funding of President’ Obama’s executive orders concerning immigration. Speaker of the House, John Boehner claimed the Republicans do not take their actions lightly. He believes there is just no alternative.
Ultra Conservative Amendments
The far-right elements of the Republican party attempted to create amendments that could be harmful to the process. These amendments were designed to not just defund the most recent immigration actions from President Obama, but also an immigration initiative that was put in place during 2012. The amendments are designed to stop millions of undocumented immigrants from having the ability to obtain proper work permits and have at least temporary relief from deportation. According to John Boehner, the immigration legislation is not a dispute between parties or even branches of government. He and his fellow Republicans view President Obama’s actions on immigration as executive overreach. They see it as a challenge to the rule of law as well as the authority of the Constitution.”
Deferred Action For Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
The immigration legislation recently passed in Congress is the latest effort by Republicans to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), a program created by the Obama administration. The DACA has already been beneficial to approximately 600,000 undocumented immigrants. This spring it is anticipated that millions more will be able to come to the United States. It will happen when a new imitative is put in motion for undocumented parents who have children that were born in the United States.
This strategy being followed by the Republicans may not succeed without them paying a price. Lawmakers in Congress singled out the DHS to not be funded in December when it approved a spending bill so the government would continue running. The DHS was only funded until February 27, 2015. This was by design. It sets up a situation where the GOP can battle against the President Obama’s immigration policy. If the Republican majority does not have a plan in place at that time, the DHS will not have enough funds to operate. This would impact a lot more than simply the enforcement of immigration law.
No Chance To Pass
The amendments proposed by the Republican-controlled Congress do not seem as if they will pass. The Republicans currently control the Senate where legislation requires at least 60 votes to pass. It is doubtful this will happen. It is just as doubtful that President Obama will sign a bill that will dismantle his executive actions prior to the next phase being put into place. The White House made an official veto announcement through the Office of Management and Budget. The White House will respect any effort to maintain the funding for the DHS, but it is against any measure that would derail the president’s plans for immigration.
Unnecessary Political Fight
Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has said the Republicans have been in control for a week and are already starting unnecessary political fights. This one could shut down the DHS and endanger security in the United States. Reid believes Republicans need to quit playing games and pass a clean bill. One that would completely fund the DHS. He believes the political bill passed in Congress is pointless. It will not pass the Senate.
An increasing number of moderate Republicans have declined to support their party’s actions, which could place DHS funding in jeopardy. It could decrease the resources available for national security. Many lawmakers are thinking about the lessons that need to be learned from the terrorists attacks in Paris. They don’t want to see an agency responsible for keeping American citizens safe having its funding threatened.
The most controversial amendments brought by Republicans focus on the funding utilized to put the immigrations actions in place. Republicans Reps Lou Batletta of Pennsylvania, Robert Aderhold of Alabama and South Carolina Rep Mick Mulvaney proposed amendments that prevented any type of fees or resources from being used for the unilateral actions suggested by the White House. An amendment even more contentious was proposed by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, who is a Republican from Tennessee. It would dismantle the current DACA program and stop those in the program from having the ability to renew their applications.
DREAMers are undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. They are now able to legally have jobs, pay taxes and obtain a driver’s license. If the DACA program is terminated, the DREAMers would suddenly lose all of those benefits. The ending of the DACA program would also leave hundred of thousands of teenage immigrants and millennial eligible to be deported.
The amendment proposed by Blackburn was dissented by a significant number of Republicans. There were 26 Republicans in total who opposed it. It did not have one Democrat vote to support it. The amendment did pass. The vote was close at 218 for and 206 against it. This could indicate that Republicans from districts with a large Latino voting populations are behaving more moderate. They are going to be very careful when supporting any measure that would harm DREAMers.