Today the House of Representatives voted on an amendment by Congressman Steve King (R-Iowa) to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Last year, the Obama administration unveiled this program to allow the Department of Homeland Security to use its discretion in who it deports. DREAM Act eligible youth (young people who were brought to the country as children) could apply for deferred action if they met certain requirements, which would prevent them from being deported. The idea was that DHS should use its resources on deporting undocumented people who have committed crimes.
King argued that the administration was trying to waive existing immigration laws. He said, “The point here is … the President does not have the authority to waive immigration law, nor does he have the authority to create it out of thin air, and he’s done both with these Morton memos in this respect.”
The amendment passed in the House 224-201, largely along party lines, but three Southern Democrats joined with Republicans to support the amendment.
There were boos on the House floor after the King amendment passed.
This vote highlights the contentious nature of the immigration debate in the House of Representatives. Earlier today, Speaker of the House John Boehner published an op/ed in La Opinión, the largest Spanish language paper in the nation about “Protecting the American Dream,” where he highlighted immigration reform as a priority for his party in Congress.
Congressman Luis Gutierrez (D-Illinois), a consistent advocate for immigration reform, has said that he expects the House to have a bill by the week after next.