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.