House GOP Pushes Extreme Deportation-Focused Immigration Proposal

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House GOP Pushes Extreme Deportation-Focused Immigration Proposal

Emily Crockett

House Republicans are expected to vote this week on anti-immigration measures that would repeal not only President Obama’s new executive action, but also other protections for immigrants dating back to 2011.

House Republicans are expected to vote this week on anti-immigration measures that would repeal not only President Obama’s new executive action, but also other protections for immigrants dating back to 2011.

The proposal by House leadership would eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which since 2012 has protected hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people, known as DREAMers, from deportation.

The proposal would also retroactively remove protections for the families of military service members.

The GOP plan is more extreme than many had anticipated. Republicans were expected to try to de-fund Obama’s order that protects up to five million immigrants from deportation, and to threaten a government shutdown if they didn’t get their way—but not to undo other successful programs and threaten to deport immigrants who have already undergone criminal background checks and have work authorization.

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“Republicans want to make a statement that they want to deport every single undocumented immigrant they can get their hands on,” Rep. Luis Gutiérrez (D-IL) said in a statement. “A lot of innocent young immigrants are going to get caught in the crossfire if they succeed.”

House Republicans would try to pass the proposal through a series of amendments to a must-pass bill that would fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the end of the year.

Although a bill funding the rest of the government for the year passed at the last minute in December, the DHS was only funded through the end of February. Anti-immigration conservatives negotiated to single out DHS in this way so they could try to use their new majority in Congress to de-fund Obama’s executive order as soon as possible.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi harshly rebuked the GOP for its “partisan recklessness” in “choosing a time of rising terrorism to imperil the security of our entire country to satisfy the most radical anti-immigrant fringes of their party.”

The DHS is responsible for fighting terrorism as well as enforcing immigration laws, and the department could partially shut down if a funding bill is not passed in time.

The proposal is making many moderates from both parties uncomfortable, and though it may well pass the House, it is unlikely to get the 60 votes it would need to pass the Senate and head to the president’s desk.

The proposal also shows the willingness of House Republican leadership to cater to the extreme anti-immigration sentiments of far-right members like Rep. Steve King (R-IA).

“There’s no daylight anymore between House Republicans on immigration reform,” Frank Sharry, executive director of pro-immigration reform group America’s Voice, said in a statement. “Fresh out of the gates in the new Congress, House Republican leaders are advancing legislation straight from the top of Steve King’s anti-immigrant wish list.”