As the final days and hours of the current legislative session wind down, it looks like there may not be any action on President Obama’s request for funding. The House will finish the current session on Friday, July 31, at which time members will be on summer break. The House of Representatives online schedule currently does not list any scheduled hearing next week on the President’s request for $3.7B border request. House Speaker, John Boehner, says he does not believe the funding request will go anywhere in the remaining time, “I would certainly hope so, but I don’t have as much optimism as I would like to have.” Boehner added, “There’s just been some comments made by our colleagues across the aisle that are going to make this much more difficult to deal with.[i]”
The Washington Post published a graphic summary of President Obama’s request of $3.7 billion for “deterrence, enforcement, repatriation, public information campaigns and efforts to address the root causes of migration,” according to the article linked above.
Departments to receive funding under the current request for emergency relief:
- Health and Human Services – $1.8B – care for unaccompanied children and refugee services;
- Homeland Security – $1.536B – detention and removal, transportation, ICE enforcement, Customs and Border Patrol employee funding, border security task force programs and increased drone surveillance;
- State Department – $300M – repair and strengthening of the borders and media campaigns in Mexico and Central America;
- Justice Department – $64M – additional judges, expanded orientation program, legal representation of immigrants, immigration litigation lawyers for federal agencies.
Despite inaction on the President’s funding request, some other immigration proposals are on the schedule, courtesy of several House Republicans.
On Wednesday, July 29, the House Judiciary Committee, lead by Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) will host hearings on a proposed bill, (H.R. 5137), the Asylum Reform and Border Protection Act, to end several of the current immigration policies enacted under President Obama’s administration, under the assumption that those policies are attracting undocumented immigrants to U.S. borders, according to a press release issued on July 17[ii].
A video on the House Judiciary Committee website claims President Obama has not taken sufficient action and that his plan to address the border crisis is nothing but smoke and mirrors: Watch Video. Whether there is enough bipartisan support for H.R. 5137 as a proposed solution to current and future immigration and border problems remains to be seen and it will likely be covered in the media next week.
Another currently scheduled hearing[iii] to take place on Friday, July 31, will be hosted by the Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology. The hearing will focus on the technology that may be needed to secure U.S. borders.
Cable news shows love talking about all the legislative proposals, often regardless of the chances they will get enough votes to pass.
As members of Congress lend their support to the variety of proposed bills, you may wonder if they are making a good faith effort to pass legislation, or whether some of the bills simply provide an opportunity for debate and dialogue, which unfortunately turns into political gamesmanship and attack.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx), for example, would like to see the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) program terminated, to send a message to people in Central America, “making it clear that we won’t give amnesty to those who are here illegally.[iv]”
Beware of political chatter blaming current immigration problems on current policies.
Cruz may be errant in his statement however, in the sense that DACA does not apply to the people currently arriving on U.S. soil, fleeing grave danger in their home countries. To learn more about misconceptions about immigration law and policies and the current border surge, you may read our article, Immigration law and policy is complex and there are frequent misunderstandings on both sides of the fence. Attorney KiKi M. Mosley works diligently to follow the latest news on immigration reform and share valuable information.
Attorney KiKi M. Mosley is licensed to practice law by the States of Illinois and Louisiana. She is skilled and experienced in complex immigration law issues including DACA and related options for children arriving in the U.S. For more information about the law firm, please visit www.KiKisLaw.com, and do not forget to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” on Twitter. You can also review Attorney Mosley’s endorsements on her Avvo profile.
[i] PBS.org, Recess looming, lawmakers appear stuck on Obama’s immigration funding request, By Rachel Wellford, Jul. 22, 2014.
[ii] U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, Chaffetz and Goodlatte Introduce Bill to Stop the Border Crisis, Jul. 17, 2014.
[iii] U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, Subcommittee on Research and Technology.
[iv] See PBS.org article (FNi) above.