The Republican-dominated House of Representatives voted on Thursday to overturn President Barack Obama’s key immigration policies, approving legislation that would eliminate new deportation protections for millions and expose hundreds of thousands of younger immigrants to expulsion.
The vote is the latest challenge to Mr. Obama’s domestic priorities by Republicans who took control of both houses of Congress last week following their sweep of November elections. The President has fought back with threats to veto their legislation.
Immigrant advocates warned Republicans that their moves on immigration risked alienating Latino voters who will be crucial to the 2016 Presidential election.
Today’s 236-191 vote came on a broad bill that would provide nearly $40 billion to finance the Homeland Security Department through the rest of the budget year.
Democrats accused Republicans of playing politics with national security at a time of heightened threats, and Mr. Obama has threatened to veto the legislation. Prospects in the Senate look tough, too.
But House Republicans, in a determined assault on one of Mr. Obama’s top domestic priorities, accused him of reckless unconstitutional actions on immigration.
“This executive overreach is an affront to the rule of law and to the Constitution itself,” said House Speaker John Boehner. “The people made clear that they wanted more accountability from this President, and by our votes here today we will heed their will and we will keep our oath to protect and defend the Constitution.”
But Rep. Luis Guiterrez, a Democrat, accused Republicans of “viciousness” for trying to make it easier to deport immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. Democratic Rep.
David Price called the Republican effort “a political vendetta”, adding, that “it’s a reprehensible, reckless tactic which will compromise, has already compromised, the full and effective functioning of our Homeland Security Department” at a time of heightened security risks.
The immigration measures were amendments on the Homeland Security bill.
One of them, approved 237-190, would undo executive actions that Mr. Obama announced in November to provide temporary deportation relief to some 4 million immigrants in the country illegally.
A second amendment would delete Mr. Obama’s 2012 policy that’s granted work permits and stays of deportation to more than 600,000 immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children.