Political Posturing on Immigration Affects DHS

By Elizabeth Kennedy

The DHS funding bill was written to provide a continuous stream of funding for the Department of Homeland Security because their current funding ends on February 27th, 2015. Republicans refused to provide funding in December of 2014 when the rest of the government agencies received their funding.  They disagreed with President Obama’s executive amnesty that helps up to five million immigrants who do not have legal status to be in US. The Republican Party who proposed the bill added five amendments, two of which are from Rep. Brat and one from Rep. King. The first Brat Amendment stated that no funding would be provided until President Obama’s executive action on immigration such as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) of 2012 among others were overturned. The second Brat Amendment strives to end Obama’s catch-and-release policies and deporting immigrants with legal documentation right away rather than letting them stay in the US for a longer period of time in government processing facilities. The third amendment or King amendment wants to fully enforce the Secure Fence Act of 2006. This act strives to place double fencing on all 700 miles of the border rather than only the 48 miles that are double fenced today.

This funding bill has passed in the Republican-dominated House of Representatives but there is doubt about its future in the Senate. Democratic Senators have stated they will only approve the bill if the amendments are changed or removed. Democratic support is critical because the bill will not pass without the support of at least six Democrats. It will be heard in the Senate on February 3rd after they have finished with another legislation about the pipeline. President Obama has publically stated that he will veto the DHS legislation if the Senate passes it. There is not enough support in both the Senate and the House to override a presidential veto. For the Senate this means their first month will be spent on legislation that is nearly 100% sure to be vetoed. Former Department of Homeland Security Secretaries wrote a letter about their fear for the continued lifespan of the DHS because of the conflict between the President and the House. They believe that the country should be focusing on issues of national security especially after recent terrorist threats in other countries.

 

GALEO NOTE:  The opinions expressed are her own and do not represent GALEO’s views nor position.

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