Yesterday's House Vote: Terribly Misguided

Posted by on January 15, 2015.


We wanted to provide you with an overview of the series of votes yesterday surrounding efforts to repeal the President’s executive immigration actions.

Yesterday’s show vote from the House Republican Conference holds up critical funding for the Department of Homeland Security over the right to restart deportations of DREAMers, and wastes valuable time on a bill that House GOP members know has zero chance of becoming law.

A number of amendments to the funding bill would roll back important and necessary protections for DREAMers, the parents of kids who are U.S. citizens and permanent residents, talented students who go to school in the U.S. and want to stay here to grow their companies and create American jobs, and other undocumented immigrants who have been living here and already contributing to our communities and our economy for years.

In summary – were this passed into law, these millions of people would be placed at risk of deportation - ripping apart millions of families, stifling our economy, and hurting our country. We are encouraged that 26 Republicans broke with their party in opposition of a particularly harmful amendment. And we’re thankful to the 10 Republicans and nearly every Democratic member who voted against the entire measure.

The House floor votes included five particularly harmful amendments that won't accomplish the meaningful immigration reform that Americans across the political spectrum overwhelmingly support. With the help of our friends at Alliance for Citizenship, here are the key points on each amendment:

The Aderholt/Mulvaney/Barletta Amendment as passed would prohibit the use of fees collected by USCIS to implement DAPA or DACA, and is specifically designed to prevent the implementation of deferred action programs. The only executive action this amendment leaves in place pertains to pay increases and workforce realignment for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers.

The Blackburn Amendment would put at risk of deportation hundreds of thousands of DREAMers who already came forward in good faith, passed background checks, and received temporary DACA protection allowing them to apply for jobs, schools, and driver’s licenses. The Blackburn Amendment also prohibits the use of funds to consider new DACA applications, preventing the expansion of the DACA program to other young people who might not qualify under the program’s rules right now.  

The DeSantis/Roby Amendment ignores existing policies which prioritize criminals convicted of certain sex offenses and domestic violence as the highest targets for law enforcement. These individuals are already excluded from deferred action under DAPA and DACA. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the American Immigration Lawyers Association, and more than a dozen sheriffs and police chiefs oppose the DeSantis/Roby Amendment because it would also endanger victims of domestic violence by overturning a key DHS policy requiring further investigation into whether a person convicted of a misdemeanor domestic violence offense was actually the victim of that crime.

The Salmon/Thompson Amendment incorrectly suggests that employers may be incentivized to give hiring preference to individuals who qualify for deferred action because they are not eligible for premium subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In fact, all full-time employees, regardless of immigration status, are counted as an “employee” in determining whether and how much an employer owes in penalties for failure to meet the health care coverage obligation under the ACA.

The Schock Amendment is based on the false assumption that wait times for some legal immigration categories will increase due to the implementation of DAPA, despite USCIS having the authority to hire new adjudicators to process these applications. Deferred action applications are not expected to slow the processing of legal immigration petitions. Instead of preventing delays, this amendment would interfere with many other applications filed by persons in unlawful status, including asylum applications, U visa and T visa applications by victims of serious crimes and sex trafficking, and green card applications by the spouses of U.S. citizens and victims of domestic violence entitled to relief under the Violence Against Women Act.

On the heels of this vote, it's more important than ever to remind members of Congress that what we need is real immigration reform - not politically-motivated show votes that waste time that could be spent working toward real and meaningful legislative solutions. We strongly encourage House Republicans to stop their terribly misguided efforts to overturn DACA and instead pursue serious legislation in good faith that will provide a permanent legislative solution to our country's broken immigration system.


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