Our VoiceImmigration

Nativists get their way in House vote to undo protections for immigrants

Imagine 2050 Staff • Jan 14, 2015

Lawmakers took a step toward halting President Obama’s executive action on immigration Wednesday, putting hundreds of thousands of DREAMers and family members of U.S. citizens at risk of deportation. At issue were two amendments to an appropriations bill funding the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the fiscal year.

As is, the current bill is not expected to pass the Senate and it is even less likely to be signed by President Obama. Even so, Wednesday’s votes signify that House leadership is once again caving to the pressures and interests of the organized anti-immigrant movement and its allies in Congress.

Here are some of the responses from the anti-immigrant movement and their allies in the House:

  • The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) – the anti-immigrant movement’s flagship organization – congratulated the House and said, “It is now up to the Senate Democratic leadership and President Obama to decide whether the security of the nation is more important than implementing a politically driven amnesty program that was never authorized by Congress.” Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA), a member of FAIR’s advisory board, co-authored one of the anti-immigrant amendments approved today.
  • Jeff Sessions (R-AL) lauded today’s House vote in a statement and claimed Obama’s immigration actions action are “unlawful, unconstitutional, and in violation of our legal heritage.” The White House’s own Office of Legal Counsel and 135 other legal scholars say otherwise.
  • Other lawmakers who predictably issued statements featuring the anti-immigrant canard that Obama’s actions are unlawful include Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) also derided the President’s actions as “an affront to the rule of law and the Constitution itself.” In January 2014, Boehner unveiled a list of immigration reform principles and claimed, “The safety and security of our nation depends on our ability to secure our border, enforce our laws, improve channels for legal entry to the country, and identify who is here illegally.”

Boehner has threatened the dismantling of immigration enforcement practices that do most of those things by overseeing today’s vote to effectively put future Department of Homeland Security funding in jeopardy. His actions are not just an affront to millions of immigrants seeking to build a better life for their families, they’re an affront to his own self-professed policy aims.

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