The United States House of Representatives voted late Feb. 27 to put a temporary hold on a Department of Homeland Security shutdown. This one week hold was a near miss to say the least, as it narrowly avoided a lapse in DHS funding.
You might ask yourself, why? It’s because, the Republican Party is holding funding for the Department of Homeland Security hostage and all because they oppose President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration.
Here’s what is going on. Initial steps were taken by an extremist group of Republican governors who decided they didn’t like the executive actions, so they sued and were able to find one District Court judge who would get involved. President Obama’s Administration is now appealing the extremist attempts aggressively.
In a statement released after the Friday 11th hour funding vote, Rep. Curt Clawson said the following: “We must do everything in Congress to stop the President’s illegal amnesty to be fair to those still seeking opportunities in our country legally, and to those who have patiently abided by our rules and laws to earn their legal path to citizenship. Washington has mired itself in a procedural debate, when the debate needs to be about looking out for the needs of our own fellow citizens.”
Here are the facts: This executive action is not “Presidential Overreach,” it is not “amnesty” and it is not “illegal” but you won’t hear that from the far right extreme faction of the Republican “Tea” Party with whom our current United States House Representative Curt Clawson has aligned himself.
The President doesn’t have the authority to expand mitigation on deportations —that would be amnesty. The President does not have the authority to not deport, but that is not what his executive actions do.
The executive actions prioritize resources and only apply to people who have been here for 5 years, and those who have U.S. children and children who are permanent residents. These people can register to ensure they are not deported. At long last families can rest assured that people who are responsible and working are not prioritized for deportation.
There is still focus on the border regions and people who’ve just gotten in. Those who come here illegally will still be removed and criminals will be pursued aggressively to enforce the law.
In the short term, Senate leader, Sen. Mitch McConnell (Kentucky) and Representative John Boehner, Speaker of the House (Ohio) need to have a vote in Congress over whether the Presidents executive actions are legal.
No matter what, a bill on comprehensive immigration reform must pass in Congress, because the changes from the Presidents executive actions are only temporary until the law is changed, and that change must come through Congress.
Clawson goes further in his statement to say:“The President and the Leadership of both parties in Congress have let down the nearly 18 million unemployed and underemployed job seekers in the United States by putting our country on a path to add five million more job seekers into our fragile economy. Simply put, why are we making it harder for our unemployed to find work” and he says, “It’s not about pointing fingers, it’s about fairness for the American worker and fairness for our legal immigrants. It’s about fairness for all.”
The Department of Homeland Security temporary funding bill H.R. 33: Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act, passed the House 357-60, with Rep. Curt Clawson being one of the 60 voting against the bill.
So let’s be clear, our current representative voted against a bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security, at least temporarily, while ensuring our firefighters and first responders stay on the job and get paid.
Does that sound like the vote of someone who’s fighting for American workers, the unemployed or underemployed? I think, not.
Instead of the reckless and illegal hostage holding of funding for the Department of Homeland Security — a must pass bill, crucial to national security, we should fund DHS and work together to pass Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
April Freeman is a 2016 Democratic candidate for Congress.