Today the Senate approved a clean Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bill, and Senate Democrats blocked a motion to proceed to a bill from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) that would nullify the President’s immigration-related executive actions. The following is a statement by Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice.
In response to our movement’s relentless pressure, in 2012 and 2014 President Obama initiated common-sense immigration policy changes that improve our dysfunctional immigration system and offer work permits and protection to some 5 million immigrants settled in America. Unfortunately, Republicans in both chambers have been on a crusade to nullify these measures by adding riders to must-pass Homeland Security funding. Fortunately, Democrats have, to date, blocked these Republican efforts.
The Democrats, under the able leadership of Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), handled this just right. They insisted on a clean DHS bill through the end of September in the Senate, and they got it. They insisted that the upcoming immigration policy debate come only after the House has passed a clean DHS bill through the end of September, and because the House has yet to do so, blocked movement to the immigration policy debate (although we were very disappointed that four Senate Democrats – Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Joe Donnelly (D-IN) and Heidi Heitkamp (D-MN) – stood with the Republicans and not with immigrants).
Looking forward, we hope the House stops threatening homeland security in order to protect Speaker John Boehner’s (R-OH) job security, and we hope that those in the Senate who voted for comprehensive immigration reform in 2013 will continue to stand for a permanent solution that will both obviate the need for most of the President’s executive actions and solve the immigration challenge once and for all.
If Senate Republicans and wavering centrist Democrats think they can get away with dashing the dreams of hundreds of thousands of Dreamers eligible for expanded DACA and taking relief away from millions of American families, they will soon learn that the immigration reform movement will fight with all we have to defend what’s been won and work towards expanding it in the future.