The recent vote in the House of Representatives on legislation to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) signals the hostility toward the undocumented that prevails in this chamber.
The lower chamber basically approved numerous amendments that prevent the funding of deferred deportation initiatives that the White House proposed, among others. Therefore, if the wishes of the Republican majority are fulfilled, there won’t be funds to prevent the deportation of young Dreamers or to allow the spouses of American citizens to remain in the country while waiting for DHS to process their paperwork.
In its current version, the bill has its days numbered, since it is unlikely to win approval in the Senate and even less to be signed by President Obama, since it undermines his deferred deportation policy.
This House vote is particularly worrisome, because it allows an anti-immigrant extremist like Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) to lead the majority’s position on immigration. This is a disheartening sign of the possibilities for comprehensive immigration reform.
Republicans interested in courting Latino voters should be concerned about this. What is the point of nice speeches and kind writings if, when push comes to shove, the recalcitrant lawmakers are the ones dominating immigration-related debates?
It is outrageous and unconceivable that at this point, the deportation of young people who were brought by their parents to the United States as children is a legislative priority associated with domestic security.
There is still a long road ahead before immigration reform reaches the House of Representatives, and much can happen between now and then. However, what happened with the Homeland Security budget predicts a path full of thorns.