In their latest attempt to derail President Obama’s immigration plan, the House voted Wednesday on a bill that would essentially end all legal protections for millions of undocumented immigrants. The Republicans’ main objective is to destroy Obama’s recent executive action on immigration. And they are trying to do this by holding hostage the funding for the Department of Homeland Security, which will run out of money at the end of February. Somehow the Republicans still have it in their heads that they can use the appropriation process to completely dismantle the President’s plan.
In 2012 Obama signed an order which allowed children who entered the country illegally (known as “Dreamers”) to stay. And so far more than 600,000 people have taken advantage of the Dreamers program. The legislation that the House voted on Wednesday would effectively erase that order. And the amendment passed by a 218-209 majority, with NO Democratic votes. Twenty-six Republicans also voted against it.
In some strange attempt to appeal to Hispanic voters, Republicans who voted in favor of this new legislation insist that they are not being cruel, and that their intentions are only for the greater good. They repeatedly made the claim that this debate is not at all about immigration, but that instead it is really just about stopping Obama. And they believe that they are entitled to do this because they think that Obama has exceeded his authority by changing immigration law on his own through the use of executive action. Republicans are adamant that they are carrying out the will of the American people based on the mid-term election votes.
Of course the Democrats argue that the Repubs are not only being cruel by ignoring all of the hard-working immigrants in this country but they are also putting Homeland Security at risk at a time when we cannot afford to let our guard down.
Following Wednesday’s vote, the White House lashed out at House Republicans for trying to block Obama’s executive order by withholding funds for Homeland Security. According to the White House, this legislation would prohibit the government from providing any protection from deportation or work permits to more than 5 million illegal immigrants. And they say that this ridiculous tactic of pairing immigration policy with the funding of Homeland Security makes for an extremely dangerous game of political chicken.
But unfortunately for the Republicans, this strange plan has virtually ZERO chance of working. First of all, without even considering any of the problems with the bill itself, it would still have to pass in the Senate. And even though the Republicans were able to pass it in the House, once it gets to the Senate it will surely face a point of order which would require it to get 60 votes to pass. To make it even more impossible for this to ever work out for the Repubs, regardless of whether or not they could pass it through both houses of Congress, President Obama still has the power of the Veto, which he would obviously use here. And it’s pretty much a given that Congress would be unable to get the two-thirds majority required to override a Veto.
If all of that didn’t make this whole Republican scheme an exercise in futility, there is an even bigger problem with their plan. The House Appropriations Committee actually told the Repubs in November that it would be absolutely “impossible” to defund Obama’s executive order on immigration by using a government spending bill. They simply cannot cut off the money needed for Obama’s plan because the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS), which is the primary agency responsible for implementing the President’s executive order, is actually totally funded by user fees.
That means that no matter what sort of defunding bill that the GOP tries to pass, the CIS would still continue to collect money and carry out their business at hand. As a matter of fact, even if the Republicans decided to force another government shutdown over this issue, the CIS would be completely unaffected.
All I can say is hold on folks, the ride on the Republican crazy train is just getting started….