Today, the House of Representatives approved amendments to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Bill, H.R. 240, which would be harmful to immigrants already living in the United States, as well as to those seeking protection from harm — including the most vulnerable among us: children.
In the budget debates at the end of last year, Congress fully funded all governmental departments for Fiscal Year 2014-2015, except the Department of Homeland Security. This was a strategic move by Republicans so that the 114th Congress, with Republican leadership, could respond to the Obama administration’s Nov. 20 Executive Action that provides deportation relief to undocumented parents of permanent resident and citizen children.
Three Troubling Amendments in the House DHS Appropriations Bill:
- The Aderholt (AL) Amendment prevents any funds being used to implement the Nov. 20, 2014 Executive Action.
- The Blackburn (TN) Amendment stops funds being used to implement the 2012 Executive Action (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals- DACA). DACA provides temporary deportation relief and work permits to DREAMers. It would put over 600,000 DACA beneficiaries under threat of deportation.
- The Desantis (FL) Amendment removes DHS discretion to consider the needs of immigrant victims who may have been wrongly accused, pled guilty to or been unfairly convicted of domestic violence charges.
These amendments take us backwards as a country, rather than fixing our broken immigration system. We've won huge victories for immigrant families in recent months and we can't let anti-immigrant proposals in Congress stop the President's executive action on immigration or stall our progress!
As people of faith, we stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters: young people and families whose lives will be changed by the President's executive action, children seeking protection from gang violence, and all individuals fleeing persecution who see the United States as a beacon of hope, safety and freedom.
What does the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Say?
The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has strong policy affirming the inclusion of immigrants in our society. The 217th General Assembly of the PC(USA), in a renewal of our call to love our neighbor, stated, “We affirm the PC(USA)’s commitment to providing sanctuary to anyone in need of safe space, food or shelter.”
Moreover, the 221st General Assembly created the Presbyterian Immigrant Defense Initiative, a campaign to “empower” Presbyterians to work to change policies and practices that infringe on the human and civil rights of immigrants in our communities including immigrant detention, streamlined deportation, and the executing of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by local law enforcement.
We must stand on the side of immigrant families.