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.