By Brittany Plange
Immigration reform seems to be something that has always been debated in congress. Each year, both parties in Congress promise us that we will get some form of comprehensive immigration reform legislation passed. Each year, there seems to be an attempt that falls through in congress. This year, instead of a piece of legislation, we have gotten an Executive Order initiated by President Obama. The executive order would give over 3 million undocumented immigrants protection against deportation that will be funded through Homeland Security. Republicans have vowed to dismantle the order, and now that they have control over the House and Senate they have more power to do so. One key way they are trying to block the action is through the country’s budget. The Senate put to vote, for the second time, a bill that would undo the executive order but still fund Homeland Security. The bill was again shot down by Senate Democrats who stated that “…that no matter how many times Republicans held the vote, the outcome would be the same unless the contested language on immigration was removed.” Republican Senator Jim Jordan of Ohio claimed, “We have the strategy, it’s to do what the American people sent us to do. That’s our legislation…I look at it as a chance for seven Democratic senators to find Jesus and do the right thing.”
Congress seems more polarized than ever on an issue that will have dire consequences on our countries physical and financial security. Ironically, any attempt to shutdown Homeland Security will not affect the executive action from being enacted since 85% of DHS employees, including those necessary for the order, would still work. However shutting down DHS would halt, according to Domenico Montanaro of PBS News Hour, non-disaster FEMA functions like risk mapping, delaying hiring additional Secret Service agents for the presidential election, delaying improvements to immigration detention centers, delaying new border surveillance, and much more.
Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri argued, “At a time when the world is united in trying to send a strong signal about confronting ISIS and defeating ISIS, I think putting veto bait in the funding for homeland security is a very bad idea.” I find myself completely agreeing with Senator McCaskill. As February 27th comes closer and closer, the stench of another government shutdown swiftly follows.