WASHINGTON—House Republicans are set to vote next week on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security that will be coupled with a number of hard-line conservative measures going after President Barack Obama’s central immigration policies. The bill is likely to set up a weeks long fight between Republicans and the president that could risk shutting down DHS at the end of next month.
The $39.7 billion DHS funding package was introduced on Friday, and will be coupled next week with amendments limiting the president’s immigration authorities. One amendment is expected to block Obama’s recently announced executive actions on immigration, which could give work authorization to up to 5 million people who are in the country illegally. Members said the legislation would also halt the 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy, which protects undocumented young people who came to the U.S. as children.
Along with those measures, members said the amendments would reinstate the controversial Secure Communities immigration enforcement program, which DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced would be ended late last year due to pushback from state and local officials. The package is also expected to do away with most of the “Morton Memos,” guidance from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that instructs agents to focus deportation efforts on immigrants who are perceived as more dangerous or who have recently crossed the border illegally.
GOP members huddled on Friday morning to discuss the plan before it was introduced. The package pleased conservatives in the House, but is likely doomed in the Senate. Even if it passed in the upper chamber, though, the bill would almost certainly get a veto from the president.
Republicans said they were aware that their bill will face opposition from Obama and Democrats, but wanted to stake out their position early in the DHS funding process.
“We’re starting from a conservative standpoint as opposed to negotiating with the Senate before we even pass a bill,” Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.), whose immigration bill will be partially integrated into the funding measures, told reporters after the House GOP conference meeting. “So we’re starting from a very conservative aspect on this.”
The bill could lose some GOP members, though likely not many. Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) said he was “not happy with the current status of the bill,” pointing specifically to the DACA provision.
Elise Foley. Huffington Post.