To a chorus of boos from the gallery, House Republicans voted 224–201 on Thursday to approve an amendment that defunds the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. The amendment, from Rep. Steve King (R-IA), undercuts the flexibility that allows the Department of Homeland Security to halt deporting DREAMers and instead focus on people convicted of crimes.
After the vote, the House Hispanic Caucus tweeted,”House Republicans just voted to treat DREAMers and undocumented spouses of servicemembers in the same way as violent criminals.” Only six Republicans voted against the measure.
As King’s amendment passed, the House gallery erupted in boos. Watch it:
King, a virulently anti-immigrant congressman, has already announced his intention to undermine any immigration reform effort. When Republicans last held a vote on a similar King amendment, it passed 238–175, with four Republicans voting against it.
But this time, the vote occurred at exactly the same time the House means to march forward on an immigration reform bill that would give DREAMers permanent legal status. The House Gang of Eight may have finally reached a tentative deal for a 15-year path to citizenship, after months of fractured negotiations on a bill. One indication of where the House stands on immigration is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) vote today. Cantor voted yes on King’s amendment, even though he announced support for the DREAM Act (in theory) in February.
This afternoon, the White House press office slammed the “extreme amendment”:
This amendment, sponsored by Representative Steve King, runs contrary to our most deeply-held values as Americans. It asks law enforcement to treat these Dreamers the same way as they would violent criminals. It’s wrong. It’s not who we are. And it will not become law.