Obama immigration actions, DREAMers targeted in House vote

Seattleites joined Mayor Murray, Rep. Adam Smith and immigrant rights advocates at a rally outside the Federal Building Thursday, heralding Obama's executive action and demanding further steps toward immigration reform. (Photo by Alex Garland)
Seattleites joined Mayor Murray, Rep. Adam Smith and immigrant rights advocates at a rally outside the Federal Building in November 2014, heralding Obama’s executive action and demanding further steps toward immigration reform. (Photo by Alex Garland)

Congressional Republicans passed a bill Wednesday linking funding for the Department of Homeland Security with moves to undo President Barack Obama’s immigration executive actions protecting young immigrants and immigrant parents without documentation from deportation, according to news reports.

According to the Associated Press, Congress voted 236-191 on the bill, which would provide $39.7 billion to fund the counterterrorism and cyber-security efforts, but Republicans attached amendments that would shut down programs that provide avenues of relief from deportation to certain immigrants without documentation.

The programs together give more than 4 million people work permits and temporary protection from deportation.

Despite the vote, the bill is certain to fail, according to news reports, including the New York Times. The bill would still have to pass the Senate and Obama has threatened to veto the bill.

One of the amendments would close the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which Obama put into place in 2012. The program grants two-year work permits and defers deportation for certain immigrants who arrived in the United States before age 16 without documentation. It stops short of being a path to permanent residency. Many of the young people eligible for the program are also known as DREAMers, named after the DREAM Act.

Another amendment would stop a program that Obama announced in November giving temporary relief from deportation to parents of children who are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents. The period would last for three years. The program is set to start in the spring and many people are gearing up for the new policy’s benefits and challenges.

According the Associated Press report, Republicans criticized Obama’s moves on immigration.

This executive overreach is an affront to the rule of law and to the Constitution itself,” said House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, according to the AP. “The people made clear that they wanted more accountability from this president, and by our votes here today we will heed their will and we will keep our oath to protect and defend the Constitution.”

But Rep. Adam Smith, D-WA9, who represents parts of Seattle, Bellevue and parts of King and Pierce counties, strongly opposed the measure.

In their latest attempt to deport DREAMers, rip families apart, and obstruct progress on immigration reform, House Republicans are now threatening to shut down the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) if they don’t get their way. Instead of using this legislation as an opportunity to focus limited DHS resources on national security threats, House Republicans continue to play politics, and in the process are leaving millions of people and families to suffer from a broken immigration system,” he said in a statement.

Smith said he was also disappointed that a proposed amendment to do away with the detention bed mandate did not pass.

1 Comment

  1. The intention of any severe immigration reform must be to avert a recurrence of yet a further colossal upsurge of millions of illegal aliens in this nation that resulted from the last amnesty in 1986. We now know through harsh experience since the previous amnesty, we cannot count on there being any genuine political will to put in force any statutes enacted to limit the illegal alien invasion, in beefing up border protection, or to carry out any noteworthy deportations. IN OTHER WORDS YOU CANNOT TRUST EITHER PARTY TO KEEP THEIR PROMISES. THOSE LAWMAKERS WHO DO ARE INTIMIDATED BY THE HIERARCHY.

    Consequently, we must spotlight on removing any and all enticements presently in place by the Obama administrations for foreign nationals who would traverse our borders illegally. Essentially Illegal aliens are receiving through weak welfare laws, the same programs as citizens and lawful residents, including the ‘Catch and Release’ directive for those who manage to reach American soil. This reluctant Congress can start this process with speedy passage of Rep. Steve King’s (R-Iowa) lately filed bill to end birthright citizenship (Anchor Baby ) to the progeny born in this country of illegal aliens…immediately?

    Perhaps an easy way to progress with the illegal alien dilemma, is to just amend the current laws already on the so-called books? TO SATISFY THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, WE NEED THE DOUBLE LAYER FENCING OR A BARRIER AS THE ONE IN ISRAEL. The enticements for illegal aliens must be stopped, if ONLY politicians followed the policies of the 1986 Amnesty?

    If we are not aware by now the IRS, has become a distinctive enemy of the people. There has been more focus on this agency of the government, which is yet another puppet of big business and the wealthy. America is burdened down with corporate welfare and too many loopholes for millions of people who pay nothing at all, who the rest of the taxpaying public is, forced to support. I personally as an Independent, the Tea Party people and the majority of US population with at least ONE BRAIN CELL would agree? For far too long we have been intimidated by this toxic entity that has become too powerful. IT is way past time to abolish the IRS, a much simpler system based on consumption tax, a fair and equitable tax code that nobody escapes paying. Any Politician who will rid us of this dark Agency, gets my vote?

    As Published by Investor Business Daily, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2016, might have hit on the most important fiscal issue facing the U.S.: the need for major tax reform. But he takes it a step further.

    Speaking Monday, the senator from Texas threw another thunderbolt: Republicans should use their control of Congress to get rid of the Internal Revenue Service.

    “We need to pass fundamental tax reform making our tax code simpler, flatter, fairer,” he told a crowd at a Heritage Foundation event. “And I’ll tell you, the single most important tax reform, we should abolish the IRS.”

    It’s not as radical as it sounds.

    In recent years, the IRS has become overtly political, or “weaponized,” as Cruz puts it. The IRS scandal, in which it “slow-walked” applications by Tea Party and other conservative groups to deny them non-tax status during the 2012 presidential race, is but one example. Its 110,000-person workforce has become a silent army working on behalf of progressive causes.
    That, in itself, is bad enough. But as the Americans for Tax Reform point out in a recent blog post on their website, unless his agency gets more money, “IRS Commissioner John Koskinen has threatened delayed refunds, long call-wait times, and the specter of identity theft, and now, no-show days for IRS employees.”

    In short, it’s a dysfunctional agency that’s lost its way.

    The easiest way to get rid of the IRS, as Cruz suggests, is fundamental tax reform. But there are many other great reasons for reforming the code. For one, the U.S. tax code has become so unfair, so complex, so burdensome and so costly that we have nothing to lose by changing it radically. In a report to Congress in 2013, National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson told Congress that America’s tax code now runs to well over 70,000 pages, with more than 30 million words — about 38 times larger than the King James Bible.

    Individual taxpayers and businesses spend 6.1 billion hours each year filling out their taxes and complying with its laws — the equivalent of three million full-time employees working for a year.

    Since 2001, there have been nearly 5,000 changes in the tax code — about one a day. No individual can keep up with it all. And all that complexity isn’t free: It costs us $170 billion annually to fill out our taxes. Enough is enough!

    We’ve said before: we support a flatter, fairer tax, with lower taxes for all, paid for by spending cuts — not new taxes like the recent “bipartisan” gasoline tax hike.

    Even basic tax reform, say economists, would be a winner. Just this week, a new study by the National Association of Manufacturers estimated that if tax reform were passed, over 10 years “the economy would grow by more than $12 trillion relative to Congressional Budget Office projections, investment would increase by more than $3.3 trillion and the economy would add 6.5 million jobs.” Other studies find similarly large gains.

    Today, our tax code resembles more a Rube Goldberg device than an efficient system for raising money to fund the necessary operations of our government. By all means, we should reform it. And while we’re at it, as Cruz suggests, why not get rid of the IRS?

    Don’t let the lull on the Washington battleground fool you, thinking you can sit back patiently and do—nothing? We urge you to call your Representative and Senators (the Capitol Switchboard is 1-866-220-0044) and ask them to keep up the pressure on their state and federal lawmakers. Remember—its not over till its over? It now goes to the Senate, so it’s every Americans duty to demand the votes to stop Obama, his radical Democrats and renegade Republicans in stopping Amnesty. But definitely call because the working class Americans will suffer even further from this invasion, specifically in the fight for a decent job.

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