Immigration Reform News Today: Speaker John Boehner Ready for DHS Funding Expiration, Blames Democrats for DHS Funds Issues
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced he is set to let the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) funding expire and said it would not be the fault of the Republican Party.
The DHS funding is set to expire on Feb. 27, and Congress has yet to pass new funding for the department. The House of Representatives introduced and passed H.R. 240, which would fund the DHS for the 2015 fiscal year, but amendments were attached to defund President Barack Obama's immigration executive orders. While H.R. 240 passed the House, the legislation has stalled in the Senate on at least three occasions because of Democrats' filibuster.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., recognized the filibuster by Senate Democrats and has called for the House to introduce new legislation.
"The Constitution makes it pretty clear that the House has to do its work and the Senate has to do theirs. The House has acted to fund the department and to stop the president's overreach when it comes to immigration and his executive orders," Boehner said during an interview on Fox News Sunday, noting Obama's 22 instances when the president acknowledged he did not have the authority to do issue immigration executive action.
"Congress just can't sit by and let the president defy the Constitution and defy his own oath of office. So the House acted. Now it's time for the Senate to act," Boehner said.
Boehner recognized Senate Democrats are blocking the House-approved DHS funding bill and won't even debate it. While McConnell offered senators to introduce amendments, the debate on the DHS funding has not moved forward.
"It's their (the Senate's) turn. That's the way the system works. That's the way the Constitution spells it out, and so the House has done it's job. We've spoken. If the Senate doesn't like it, they'll have to produce something that fits their institution," Boehner said.
On whether Boehner will let the DHS funding expire, he reiterated the House "has acted, we've done our job." He added, "Senate Democrats are the ones putting us in this precarious position and it's up to Senate Democrats to get their act together."
Boehner blamed Senate Democrats for jeopardizing the DHS' funding and does not understand why they will not offer new ideas to the House-approved bill. Boehner reaffirmed the House did its responsibility to fund the DHS and will let the department's funding expire. If DHS funding expires, Boehner said it will be the Democrats' fault.
Meanwhile, Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., and Rep. Nita Lowey, D-N.Y., introduced a "clean bill" to fund the DHS without amendments erasing Obama's immigration executive actions.
The new bill, H.R. 861, comes as Roybal-Allard acknowledged, "The Senate has definitively demonstrated that there are insufficient votes to bring up a DHS funding bill containing the House-passed poison pill riders. The clean, bipartisan, full-year DHS funding bill we are offering addresses the most pressing needs of the Department as it works to protect our country from harm. The President would sign that bill today, and we should send it to him."
Boehner has not issued a comment on H.R. 861.
The Speaker's interview comes ahead of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) agency launching new applications of the expanded Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA, originally created by Obama in June 2012 by executive action, received updated requirements during the president's Nov. 20, 2014, immigration executive action address. Effective on Feb. 18, eligible undocumented immigrants must have lived in the U.S. before their turning 16 years old and resided since Jan. 1, 2010, if they seek to apply for DACA.
The USCIS is one of three major immigration agencies of the DHS.
For the latest updates, follow Latin Post's Michael Oleaga on Twitter: @EditorMikeO or contact via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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