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Congress Playing Chicken on DHS Funding Bill
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For President Obama and the unlawful immigrants he is determined to reward with work permits, social security numbers, and welfare benefits, last week was triumphant. As the congressional February 27 deadline for funding the Department of Homeland Security draws closer, insiders learn with each passing day that Obama’s executive action is much more expansive than originally presented.
Aliens will receive billions in income tax credits and trillions in lifetime federal entitlements through Social Security and Medicare. They’ll be able to petition their relatives to join them in the United States, many of whom would not otherwise qualify. Because they will have legal standing, aliens will also get state-issued driver’s licenses.
Worst of all, through a little known procedure called “advance parole,” Obama is set to confer citizenship on hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants. Last week, the administration told Congress that Obama’s amnesty will allow illegal immigrants to apply for advance parole which will ease their path to citizenship. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte charged Obama with breaking his promise to the nation when he announced last November that his executive action would exclude citizenship.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services told congressional staffers that it would let illegal immigrants who received deferred action in 2012 apply for advance parole which would provide them a shortcut to a green card, the citizenship process’ first step. USCIS will accept applications effective February 18.
In his letter to DHS, Goodlatte insisted that Secretary Jeh Johnson cease and desist on advance parole. Separately, Senator Jeff Sessions said that Obama has “dismantled, stripped bare” America’s laws and called the president’s actions “an offense to the very idea of citizenship as something sacred, precious, and treasured.”
Obama and Congress are locked in a high stakes game of chicken. Democrats are pressing for a clean DHS bill that wouldn’t block Obama’s amnesty. The GOP has already passed a bill, filibustered by Democrats, that funds DHS, but not the president’s amnesty.
With Congress on a one week recess, the White House is waging an all out, multi-tiered campaign to prevail. Johnson has personally visited with 20 legislators and made phone calls to dozens more. But Republicans have so far refused to bend. On Sunday, during a rare talk show appearance, Speaker John Boehner repeated several times that in passing a bill the House “has done its job,” and it’s now up to the Democrats to respond.
Republicans maintain that they’re not worried about a DHS shutdown, and argue that it is more important to keep Obama’s unconstitutional amnesty from being implemented. Since most DHS workers are considered essential employees, they would continue on the job even during a shutdown, but with their compensation delayed.
The variable could be Obama’s advance parole which is such an overreach that it might change the votes of pro-clean bill Senate Republicans and enough moderate Democrats to end the filibuster and allow a full floor debate.
Democrats expect the GOP to remain firm. Last week various federal agencies spoke with contractors about how best to handle the impending closure. The White House and Democratic leaders Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will blame the GOP if a shutdown occurs, but Americans should remember that the President started the confrontation with his unconstitutional executive immigration action. Had there been no presidential amnesty, there’d be no shutdown.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1987. Contact him at