House Passes DHS Funding Bill That Prohibits Obama's Unilateral Amnesty

Terence P. Jeffrey | January 14, 2015 | 12:51pm EST
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Rep. Robert Aderholt (R.-Ala.)(AP Photo)

( - The U.S. House of Representatives voted 236 to 191 today to approve a Department of Homeland Security funding bill that prohibits the Executive Branch from taking action to carry out the unilateral amnesty for illegal aliens that President Barack Obama ordered in December.

The bill includes an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Robert Aderholt (R.-Ala.), that prohibits any agency of the federal government from using any funds to carry out the immigration actions that Obama has ordered under memoranda issued by himself and his subordinates.

The Aderholt Amendment was included in the bill after being approved on a separate vote of 237 to 190.

No House Democrats voted for the Aderholt amendment to block Obama's amnesty. Seven Republicans voted against it.

The Republicans who voted against the language to block the amnesty were Rep. Carlos Curbelo (Fla.), Rep. Jeff Denham (Calif.), Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Rep. Bob Dold (Ill.), Rep. Renee Ellmers (N.C.), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.), and Rep. David Valadao (Calif.).

The amendment begins:

"No funds, resources, or fees made available to the Secretary of Homeland Security, or to any other official of a Federal agency, by this Act or any other Act for any fiscal year, including any deposits into the 'Immigration Examinations Fee Account' established under section 286)(m) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1356(m)), may be used to implement, administer, enforce, or carry out (including through the issuance of regulations) any of the policy changes set forth in the following memoranda (or any substantially similar policy changes issued or taken on or after January 9, 2015, whether set forth in memorandum, Executive order, regulation directive or any action):"

The amendment then lists fifteen memoranda issued by President Obama, the secretary of DHS, the director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the principal legal adviser to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. These memoranda were the devices by which the administration was moving forward with the president's executive action on immigration that reportedly would have allowed as many as five million illegal aliens to stay in the United States.

"The memoranda referred to in subsection (a) (or any substantially similar policy changes issued or taken on or after January 9, 2015, whether set for in memorandum, Executive order, regulation, directive, or by other action) have no statutory or constitutional basis and therefore have no legal effect."

If the Senate approves a DHS funding bill that includes the Aderholt amendment, President Obama would need to veto the DHS funding bill in order to preserve his ability to move forward with his unilateral amnesty. If he vetoes it, the legal authority for DHS funding (as approved in the omnibus spending bill approved by the last Congress in December) will expire on Feb. 27.

Obama would thus need to shutdown funding for Department of Homeland Security to try to force Congress to enact legislation permitting him to move forward with his amnesty.

At a press briefing on Monday, White House Spokesman Josh Earnest suggested that President Obama would veto the DHS funding bill if it prohibited his amnesty.

"The President’s plan would bring some badly needed accountability to our immigration system by requiring undocumented workers--I’m sorry, undocumented immigrants who have been in this country for more than five years to come out of the shadows, get right with the law, submit to a background check, and pay taxes," said Earnest.

"The Republican plan would undo all of that and send the country back in the direction of doing nothing, which is something that no less an authority than Marco Rubio has said is amnesty," he said. "So I guess that means there’s probably a lot of reasons to think that what Republicans are planning on the DHS funding bill is a bad idea."

When a reporter asked Earnest if President Obama would veto the DHS bill if enacted as per the House's plan, Earnest said: "Well, we’ve made clear, dating back to last fall, that the President would oppose any legislative effort to undermine the executive actions that he took to add greater accountability to our immigration system.'

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