On Wednesday, January 14, the U.S. House approved amendments that would undo much of the plans set by President Barack Obama’s executive order to address immigration reform.
The House voted 236-191 to pass the $40 billion funding bill, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Appropriations Act of 2015 (H.R. 240). Most of the amendments focus on the prevention of funding for the Deferred Action for the Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) programs.
The president’s executive order in November 2014 set out to protect about 4 million undocumented immigrants from being deported and allowed them to work legally in the United States.
The action leaves the fate of the immigration reform in the hands of Senate Democrats and the president and could lead to a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security if a compromise cannot be reached by the end of next month, USA Today reported. The House bill is not expected to pass the Senate. The president also vowed to veto any bill meant to undermine his immigration reform.
OCA—Asian Pacific American Advocates (OCA) stated earlier today before the House vote that it denounced the amendments. OCA urged members of Congress to vote against inclusion of the anti-immigrant amendments to H.R. 240.
“The amendments to derail the executive action plans established by the President are poor policy making,” said Ken Lee, OCA National Acting Chief Executive Officer, in a statement. “Our communities have advocated for a long time to ensure that our families can be kept together. Any attempts to undo these efforts without input from communities directly affected or offering any permanent solution is a complete dismissal of the lives of Asian Pacific Americans, along with other communities disproportionately impacted by our current immigration policies. The message our new Congress is sending is that they do not care about immigrants and the well-being of our families.”
DACA is expected to provide temporary work authorization for over 100,000 Asian Pacific American young adults, and DAPA is estimated to help over 400,000 undocumented Asian Pacific American parents of U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents.
“DACA allowed us to give a bright, undocumented Asian Pacific American student the opportunity to intern with us over the past summer,” said Vicki Shu, OCA Vice President of Public Affairs, in a statement. “The inclusion of DAPA gave undocumented Asian Pacific American parents the opportunity to finally support their U.S. citizen and legal permanent resident children. It would be a travesty to take those little instances of humanity away from them. We urge all members of congress who value families to vote against the inclusion of these anti-immigrant amendments and pass a clean DHS funding bill.”
Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) released the following statement after the House Republicans voted in favor of defunding and dismantling the president’s executive action on immigration: “Earlier today, House Republicans scheduled and passed several amendments that will defund and undermine President Obama’s executive action on immigration—which was issued only after House Republicans refused to vote on the comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed the Senate with a bipartisan vote. These changes to the Department of Homeland Security funding bill will separate families, end DACA, deport DREAMers and parents, instead of criminals, send American children to foster care, and harm our economy. President Obama’s executive action isn’t an election strategy or a scheme to grow the federal government. It’s a moral imperative. I voted no on all of the amendments and hope the President’s veto brings Republicans to reality—until they act on comprehensive immigration reform legislation, the executive action is here to stay.”