WASHINGTON, D.C. (Jan. 14, 2015) — Just days into the 114th Congress, House members passed a series of amendments today to H.R. 240, the 2015 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding bill.
A statement from South Asian Americans Leading Together, says the amendments would undermine the President’s executive action on immigration, tear families apart, penalize individuals lawfully in the U.S., and keep aspiring Americans fearful and in the shadows if the bill is passed. These overarching funding bills at the beginning of the year are often utilized by policymakers to defund programs they do not support, as we have seen in recent years.
Despite the wishes of a majority of American voters, the House has not only failed to pass comprehensive immigration reform in the last Congress, it has passed amendments to the DHS funding bill that would effectively dissolve the DACA and DAPA programs created by the President under his executive authority. Together, DACA and DAPA are expected to provide much-needed relief from deportation and work authorization for over 4 million undocumented individuals in the U.S., including over 40 percent of the estimated 500,000 undocumented South Asians.
The bill would also reverse reforms that encourage lawful permanent residents to pursue citizenship, prevent many groups of lawfully present individuals from receiving Social Security benefits, limit prosecutorial discretion, force states and localities to comply with Secure Communities, a program that is slated to be replaced, and continue to make people fearful to seek out and cooperate with law enforcement.
We are deeply in need of commonsense immigration reform with a path to citizenship for undocumented individuals, and the House is squandering the opportunity to help our nation grow in order to advance partisan politics. Instead of wasting time and resources dissolving the President’s efforts to help millions of undocumented individuals in the U.S., the House should pass a bill to overhaul our current immigration system.
SAALT will remain vigilant in the fight to ensure that these destructive and irresponsible proposals to do not advance in Congress.
South Asian Americans Leading Together (SAALT) is a national, nonpartisan, non-profit organization that elevates the voices and perspectives of South Asian individuals and organizations to build a more just and inclusive society in the United States. SAALT is the coordinating entity of the National Coalition of South Asian Organizations (NCSO), a network of 49 organizations that serve, organize, and advocate on behalf of the South Asian community across the country.