Rather Than Tackle Immigration Reform, GOP Wants To Risk National Security For Mass Deportations
For the last year and a half, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) has said in a number of forums that he wants to pass comprehensive immigration reform. Rather than pass the bipartisan immigration reform plan approved by the Senate, however, Boehner sat on his hands and let that bill expire with the end of the last Congress. Now, in week two of the new Congress, Republicans on Capitol Hill have taken an approach that makes it crystal clear that any rhetoric about the need for immigration reform is nothing but lip service.
As part of the must-pass funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security, the House GOP has introduced a provision that regressively seeks to repeal the President’s immigration policies, effectively threatening mass deportations, exposing millions of American families to potential separation, and putting our national security at risk. As we saw in France last week, keeping the country safe from terrorism is imperative, and threatening to shut down the Department of Homeland Security over common-sense immigration priorities is shamefully irresponsible.
The Republican deportation plan has three main components to increase deportations:
- First, Republicans want to effectively repeal the President’s executive action that is expected to shield nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants from deportation. This group consists of parents of U.S. citizens, as well as DREAMers who were not originally eligible for the 2012 DACA program.
- Second, the bill would also effectively repeal DACA, exposing over 600,000 DREAMers to the threat of deportation once again.
- Third, House Republicans are trying to undo DHS’s enforcement priorities, which target serious offenders rather than indiscriminately going after long-time residents or family members.
When you add all these measures up, you get a near-total repeal of federal immigration policies that the Obama administration has built in light of Congress’s failure to pass comprehensive immigration reform. That amounts to more of the same from Republicans, who for years have attacked immigrants and their families, whether through repeated votes against DACA or 25-state partisan lawsuit against the President’s executive action.
This policy doesn’t just hurt families, it also hurts our national security. Allowing low-priority immigrants to come forward, pass background checks, and request deferred action means fewer people living under the radar, beyond the reach of law enforcement.
BOTTOM LINE: After refusing to allow a vote on a bipartisan immigration reform bill last year, House Republicans now want to cement the status quo in pursuit of their extreme agenda of mass deportations. Instead of supporting actions that would help keep families together, make our country more secure, and ensure that everyone is paying their taxes, Republicans are playing politics with critically important national security funding at a time when we remain on high alert for terrorist threats. It is irresponsible, it is reckless and it is a waste of time that should instead be spent passing bipartisan, comprehensive reform.