Week Ending January 9
This week in immigration reform: the 114th Congress begins; the new Republican majority works to undo administrative relief; and the states’ lawsuit to stop President Obama’s action on immigration continues.
And so begins the 114th Congress: This week the House and the Senate convened for the start of the 114th Congress. As a result of the elections this past fall, Republicans have increased their majority in the House and have taken over as the majority in the Senate, with Senator Mitch McConnell as Majority Leader. House Speaker John Boehner survived the Speaker vote, with over half a dozen conservative defections, and remains in the top House leadership position.
Notably, there is a record number of Latinos serving in the 114th Congress, totaling 32, up one from last year. This includes five new members who began their terms this week. Voxxi posted a profile of these freshman members, which include Congressman Ruben Gallego (D) of Arizona, Congressman Pete Aguliar (D) of California, Congresswoman Norma Torres (D) of California, Congressman Carlos Curbelo (R) of Florida, and Congressman Alex Mooney (R) of West Virginia.
House Republicans begin attempt to repeal protection for five million families: This week House Republicans began discussing what action to take to repeal administrative relief through legislation that will likely be attached to an appropriations bill for the Department of Homeland Security, whose funding expires February 27. Instead of legislating, House Republicans are planning to attach extreme anti-immigrant proposals to funding for national security. A Politico article outlines the latest proposal coming from Representative Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Representative Aderholt (R-Ala.). The plan would block funding for the implementation of President Obama’s recently announced administrative relief, it would stop funding for the DACA program that began in 2012, and would end procedures dictated by the 2011 “Morton memos” at DHS.
Additionally, the Republican proposal would reinstate Secure Communities, force state and local authorities to honor ICE detainers, and restrict the administration’s use of parole. The article notes that this proposal is likely to fail in the Senate, but the House Republican leadership is choosing to spend time on conservative messaging rather than commonsense reform. Stay tuned as the House is likely to vote on this legislation next week. Follow NCLR on Twitter and Facebook to get updates. It is important to remember that we must continue to work with our community to be prepared to apply for administrative relief when the expansion of DACA begins in mid-February and for DAPA in mid-May. More information on preparing for administrative relief can be found here.
Lawsuit continues over the president’s recent executive action on immigration: A total of 24 states, led by Texas, have joined to sue the Obama Administration over administrative relief. The first hearing in the case will be held next week in Brownsville, Texas. The states are suing because they believe President Obama’s action is unconstitutional, whereas the Obama Administration asserts executive action is within the president’s legal authority.
A Los Angeles Times editorial responds to the recent lawsuits brought against the president for his action on immigration and notes, “Polls routinely show high support among voters for immigration reform, though there is disagreement over exactly what form it should take. Chest-thumping on the courtroom steps does not move us closer to what we need. If the Republican state officials really want a fix, they should pressure their congressional delegations to negotiate meaningful reform in Washington.” NCLR agrees. House Republican leadership should focus on comprehensive immigration reform rather than political maneuvering.