Harmful Immigration Measures Introduced in 114th Congress

This week the House of Representatives will take up a $39.7 billion appropriations measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September.  The bill is being used as a tool to defund President Obama’s recently announced Executive Action on Immigration, as various amendments will be considered to do just that.  One amendment will likely include some or all language from the Repeal Executive Amnesty Act of 2015 (H.R. 191 introduced by Rep. Aderholt of Alabama and its companion bill S. 129 introduced by Sen. Johnson of Wisconsin), which not only seriously narrows the definition of Humanitarian and Public Interest Parole, but also amends the Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008 so that unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in the United States from non-contiguous countries can be deported as speedily as those from Mexico and Canada.  This legislation would also require state and local law enforcement agencies to comply with the controversial Secure Communities Program, limit the access to healthcare benefits for immigrants, and limit access to government-funded legal counsel to asylum seekers and others in deportation proceedings.

While the appropriations legislation is likely to pass the House, it is unclear whether it will be taken up by the Senate.  Should the legislation reach the President’s desk, it will be vetoed, setting up a compromise showdown prior to February 27th, when funding for DHS expires.