House clears DHS funding, ending stalemate

By Philip Brasher

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.



WASHINGTON, March 3, 2015 - The House voted to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the rest of fiscal 2015, ending an attempt by conservatives to use the agency's spending bill to block President Obama's executive actions on immigration.

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Seven-five Democrats voted with 182 Democrats this afternoon to clear the Senate-passed DHS measure and send it to the White House.

Funding for the department was set to expire Friday under a one-week stopgap spending bill the House passed last Friday after GOP leaders were unable to win passage of a three-week bill.

Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., said a Feb. 16 court order that put some of the president's key actions on hold eased the pressure on Senate Democrats to support a House-passed DHS bill that would block his moves. House Republicans are “united in opposition to what the president has done. This just was a division on the best way to stop that,” said Yoder, one of 167 Republicans who voted against the legislation this afternoon. No Democrats opposed the measure.

“The body has spoken today, so we'll continue to do everything we can to support legislation that will fix the problem,” Yoder said.

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The court order prevents DHS from processing applications for work permits from illegal immigrants who have been in the country for at least five years and have children who are citizens or lawful residents. That initiative, called the Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program (DAPA), is expected to benefit millions of immigrants, including farmworkers.

The order didn't affect another action of the president's that involves shifting the focus of immigration enforcement to the border, a move that has already relieved some pressure on farms and other businesses that employ undocumented workers.

There was some concern in the agricultural sector that a partial shutdown of DHS could have slowed processing of H-2A visas agricultural workers.


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