While many in the GOP are working to rebuild the party's relationship with America's Latinos, some Republicans in the House GOP appear ready to sing the same old poisoned song on immigration, with Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) leading the chorus. Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the 2014 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill, which would prevent DHS from using prosecutorial discretion in immigration enforcement. Three Democrats joined 221 Republicans in this moment of shame.
In 2011, President Obama issued an executive order to immigration officials to focus deportation efforts on undocumented immigrants who had been convicted of a crime. Later in 2012, he established the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which provided temporary relief to undocumented students who applied for the program.
Yesterday's amendment, which was sponsored by Rep. King, aims to eliminate relief to both families and students, including tens of thousands of Dreamers, placing them in the same precarious position as convicted felons and others who have proven to be threats to society.
NCLR is disappointed with members of the House of Representatives who supported this amendment. This amendment puts playing politics above advancing national security, public safety, and effective law enforcement practices. And in passing it, those members also spurned the majority of Americans who support relief for young immigrants brought country as children but lack legal status.
This amendment is wrong for this country and should have never been added to this appropriations bill. At a time when we are making real progress on immigration reform in the Senate, we should not be forced to deal with misguided attempts to undermine our current immigration system from our lawmakers in the House. These are futile distractions that have no place in ongoing debate.
We strongly urge Congress to eliminate this amendment from the DHS appropriations bill. And we encourage our lawmakers to remain focused on passing a comprehensive immigration reform bill that modernizes our immigration system and provides a roadmap to citizenship for the 11 million aspiring Americans.
This was first posted to the NCLR Blog.