Not long after the mid-term elections which put Republicans in control of the House, a vote took place that passed amendments which would undermine President Obamas plans for immigration. The president’s most recent immigration policy included protecting undocumented individuals who have children born in the United States and in addition are from any criminal history. This new policy was designed to allow these individuals to remain in the United States, without the threat of deportation or removal and allow them access to highly coveted work authorization and driver’s licenses.
Republican lawmakers assert that their main objection to the president’s new policy is his lack of authority to enforce this change. They challenge the constitutionality of his programs, claiming it is an overreach of his authority and unauthorized by the Constitution of the United States.
Republicans continue to defend their anti-immigration position by pointing to the results of the recent mid-term elections where the wide majority of the voters came out in favor of a Republican and more conservative government.
Speaker of the House, John Boehner continues to assert that his party and the people of the United States demand more accountability from the president. He recently stated that he feels it is his duty to defend the Constitution of the United States.
On the other side of the coin, the Democratic Party remains adamant that President Obama has not acted outside of his authority in implementing this change. The new law would help hundreds of thousands of children and families in the United States, who have spent the majority of their life in the United States, living as Americans. The new immigration policy protects these law abiding citizens from deportation or removal but does not accord them lawful permanent resident status.
The amendments were voted for by a margin of 218 over 209. Included with the amendment was a $40 billion dollar spending policy directed for the Department of Homeland Security, the federal agency that oversees the various branches of the immigration divisions. Republicans contend that if the spending bill is not passed, the Department of Homeland Security will run out of funding before the end of next month.
Yet another anti-immigration amendment was proposed by Robert Aderholt, Republican from Alabama, which seeks to withdraw the development of the newly proposed program that the president announced in November. That program is slated to allow more than 2 million individuals, who are parents of United States citizen children, to remain in the United States lawfully.
Democrats have called this new Republican action in the House as “mean-spirited” since it seeks to deport families, including mothers and children who have lived much of their lives in the United States. These families could be deported to countries where they may have no relatives remaining and can be forced to live in deplorable, sub-standard conditions. Some of the children, who were raised here may not even speak their mother tongue.
The human factor is often overlooked by government officials when it comes to their ideological stance when debating a topic such as immigration. It seems that the Democratic Party leaders are voicing their concern by addressing these humanitarian needs. Hopefully, the Republican lawmakers will listen and a compromise can be reached before it is too late.