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PROMISES KEPT OR BROKEN?
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 14, 2015) — Numbers USA is reporting that an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will likely receive a vote in the full U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday “before it breaks for a short recess.”
As of Tuesday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers classified the bill, HR240, as “unfinished business.” It passed out of the Rules Committee on Monday. The entire bill can be read here.
Last Friday, House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers issued a summary of HR240 covering nine DHS divisions to be funded, including the U.S. Secret Service, the TSA, ICE, and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
The vote will be the first for the House in the 114th Congress, whose members were sworn in on January 6.
As of Wednesday morning, it appears that no major news outlets are reporting on the impending vote, which will include five amendments which address various aspects of Obama’s proposed deportation relief to millions of illegal aliens, announced in a speech on November 20.
On November 20, Obama said that he was taking action “on his own” to alter existing immigration law in order to “fix America’s broken immigration system” in the face of what he sees as Congress’s failure to “pass a bill.”
According to the White House website, Obama’s actions include a plan whereby “undocumented immigrants” will be provided “with a legal way to earn citizenship so they can come out of the shadows. It holds them accountable by requiring they pass background checks, pay taxes and a penalty, go to the back of the line, and learn English. It requires everyone to play by the same rules.”
However, legal immigrants are required to pay fees and often wait years for admission to the country after making application.
In 2013, the U.S. Senate, then led by Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV), passed a bill dealing with immigration of which Obama approves. Last year, he unsuccessfully urged the House to pass the same bill, but Boehner did not bring it up for a vote.
Rep. Bill Flores of Texas said that Republicans are seeking to fund DHS but stop Obama from “overstepping his constitutional boundaries and enacting something that Congress clearly didn’t intend for him to do.”
On January 7, 2015, Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL4) introduced an amendment which would prohibit funding for the “prosecutorial discretion” and other directives ordered by Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in a series of memos following Obama’s November 20 speech. According to Numbers USA, the Aderholt Amendment encompasses “permanent” changes in regard to immigration matters, but House leaders instead chose to “keep the focus narrowly on the November memos and DACA applications and renewals” in their wording of the proposed bill.
On Tuesday, Speaker of the House John Boehner characterized the approach of House Republicans toward HR240 as “not about the issue of immigration. This is about the president acting lawlessly…”
On Monday, the right-leaning Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) published a summary of five amendments to HR 240, including Aderholt’s. Of the Aderholt Amendment, which was co-sponsored by two other congressmen, CIS wrote:
Like the Blackburn and DeSantis amendments, the Aderholt Amendment, if adopted, would actually have the force and effect of law by inhibiting the runaway executive branch from doing additional damage to the statutory immigration benefits and law enforcement system. Specifically, it would forbid the federal government from spending, on or after January 9, 2015, any funding to adjudicate DACA applications or other similar or successive “executive action” programs, such as those announced by the administration on November 20, 2014. It additionally declares forthrightly that the de-funded policies have absolutely no statutory or constitutional basis and no legal effect.
The CIS estimated that there were 40 million immigrants, which included those who arrived through legal means and those who arrived illegally, in the U.S. in 2010.
An editorial masquerading as a news article on Wednesday opened with, “It didn’t take long for the first glaring crack to appear in the armor of the new Republican majority on Capitol Hill.”
In December, prior to the passage of what became known as the “CROmnibus” advocated by Boehner and eventually passed by both the House and Senate, it was predicted that Obama would veto any proposal which did not contain funding for his “amnesty” executive actions, triggering a partial government shutdown, to which Beohner would then “cave.”
In an analysis of the amendments and Boehner’s possible motives in leaving their wording out of the bill, CIS’s Dan Cadman wrote:
If one were of a somewhat cynical disposition, one might consider that a stratagem that [sic] permits the amendments to be quietly strangled in the back rooms of various committees and subcommittees, leaving the unencumbered bill to sweep through on a voice vote. Certainly that kind of ploy has a Boehnerian look and feel to it, the speaker’s tepid indifference to enforcement of the immigration laws being the known quantity that it now is.