The Republican Congress Holds Critical DHS Resources Hostage in Futile Effort to Undermine the President’s Immigration Executive Action
Ayotte Called on to Put Nation’s Security First, Pass a Clean DHS Funding Bill
Washington DC – Today, Senator Kelly Ayotte voted with fellow Republicans to hold hostage critical Department of Homeland Security resources and workers’ pay in exchange for concessions over the President’s immigration policy. Fortunately, Democrats in the Senate blocked consideration of a fatally-flawed DHS funding bill, passed in the U.S. House last month, which seeks to undermine the President’s executive action on immigration that is today giving millions of undocumented workers who pass a background check an opportunity to keep their families together, get right with the law and pay taxes.
Rather than pass a clean DHS funding bill, Republicans ignored warnings from two Republican former DHS heads and went forward with the ‘poison pill’ bill they knew the President would never sign. With funding set to run out on February 27 for the agency tasked with aviation and border security and many counterterrorism and emergency readiness efforts, Ayotte’s time-wasting attempt to advance the flawed DHS bill effectively put at risk the public safety and the pay of nearly 150,000 front-line national security workers, including border security agents and Coast Guard members. In response, Americans United for Change challenged Sen. Ayotte to get her priorities straight and help avoid a DHS shutdown by urging Senate Majority Mitch McConnell to hold a vote on a clean DHS funding bill with no anti-immigrant measures attached.
Brad Woodhouse, President, Americans United for Change: “Senator Ayotte made her point today: the Senator really wants to go back to breaking up families and mass deporting DREAMers and undocumented workers who are willing to pay their fair share in taxes and help the economy. We get it. Can she now get on with her job of ensuring the brave men and women who keep us all safe have the resources they need? Will Sen. Ayotte join calls for a vote on a clean DHS funding bill – or will she keep playing politics with counterterrorism resources and the paychecks of national security workers out on the front-lines?
“The flawed legislation Republicans brought to the table today is based entirely on flawed arguments. Republicans say the President didn’t have the legal authority to defer the deportation of 5 million undocumented immigrants. However, over 230 Constitutional law scholars, immigration law experts, Mayors, State Attorneys General and other experts, not to mention the majority of the American public, believe the President acted well within his authority. The GOP’s selective memory conveniently forgets similar actions taken by President Reagan and every other President since Eisenhower. Republicans have refused to put forward a comprehensive immigration reform bill, and yet have the audacity to complain that the President didn’t wait to address the broken immigration system.”
“Republicans like Ayotte know there’d be no need for the President’s executive action if they simply passed a real comprehensive immigration reform bill. But it’s clear the extreme anti-immigrant elements in the Republican caucus won’t allow that, and that’s why we’re seeing this kind of reckless brinksmanship with DHS funding today. Even in the wake of recent terrorist attacks in France and Canada, it’s clear this Republican Congress is willing to compromise our national security to keep the immigration system broken -- and that’s more than a little disturbing.”