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Showdown Ahead on Homeland Security Funding

February 15, 2015
Plain English Version

Homeland photoPresident Obama issued orders giving a chance for legal protection to Dreamers. These are youngsters brought here by their undocumented parents. He also gave legal status to the unauthorized parents of children born in the United States. Money for the president’s immigration reform program is contained in a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security.

The work of Homeland Security is not just on the borders. It also protects the nation’s airports. Funding for the Department of Homeland Security runs out at the end of February.

Republicans vowed to roll back the president’s orders by not funding them in the Homeland Security bill. Republicans are the majority in the House and Senate. The House just passed a bill defunding the orders.

The bill is stuck in the Senate. All of the Democrats in the Senate oppose the bill. They are using the rules of the Senate to keep the bill from coming to a vote.

What happens next? Even if there is no bill, some of the tasks of the Department will continue. They are called “essential” services. However, the message will be that the Republicans “shut down the government.”

Congress can pass a “clean” bill.  The immigration language is removed. Or, it can fund the Department for a few weeks or months. A bill with some language changes in the immigration orders might pass.

House and Senate Republicans are pointing fingers at one another for what in any event will be a crisis.

An observer blamed Republicans for starting an immigration fight that “seems headed for failure if not a more spectacular crack-up.” One Republican senator said, “As a governing party, we should govern.”

Republicans are losing the public relations war. Their language could lead to the deportation of the Dreamers. That is something even some Republicans think is too harsh.

Time is running out.

Source: The New York Times February 11, 2015

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