House Members Attempt to Derail Immigration Action

January 14, 2015

Contact: Lakshmi Sridaran

Just days into the 114th Congress, House members have passed H.R. 240, the 2015 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill, which includes a series of amendments that will undermine the President’s executive action on immigration, tear families apart, penalize individuals lawfully in the U.S., and keep aspiring Americans fearful and in the shadows. These overarching funding bills at the beginning of the year are often utilized by policymakers to defund programs they do not support, as we have seen in recent years.

Despite the wishes of a majority of American voters, the House has not only failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the last Congress, it has passed a DHS funding bill that could effectively dissolve the DACA and DAPA programs created by the President under his executive authority. Together, DACA and DAPA are expected to provide much-needed relief from deportation and work authorization for over 4 million undocumented individuals in the U.S., including over 40 percent of the estimated 500,000 undocumented South Asians.

Amendments to H.R. 240 include provisions that could reverse reforms that encourage lawful permanent residents to pursue citizenship, prevent many groups of lawfully present individuals from receiving Social Security benefits, limit prosecutorial discretion, force states and localities to comply with Secure Communities, a program that is slated to be replaced, and continue to make people fearful to seek out and cooperate with law enforcement.

We are deeply in need of commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals, and the House is squandering the opportunity to help our nation grow in order to advance partisan politics. Instead of wasting time and resources dissolving the President’s efforts to help millions of undocumented individuals in the U.S., the House should pass a bill to overhaul our current immigration system.

SAALT will remain vigilant in the fight to ensure that these destructive and irresponsible proposals do not further advance in Congress.