The US House of Representatives Wednesday approved two amendments proposed by Republicans to overturn the executive action measures announced by President Barack Obama in November 2014 whereby about five million illegal immigrants would temporarily avoid deportation.
The House voted 237-190 to adopt an amendment to be attached to the bill to fund the budget for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which is tasked with carrying out the executive measures.
Immediately thereafter, lawmakers voted 218-209 to approve another amendment to eliminate funding for the so-called Deferred Action program, another executive decision by the president in 2012 that has prevented the deportation of hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people who have grown up in this country after being brought here illegally by their parents.
Republican House Speaker John Boehner insisted before the vote that “there is simply no alternative” for Republicans, given that as they claim Obama exceeded his authority to implement executive action when he took the immigration measures.
However, more than 20 Republicans voted against the proposals, given that their districts have significant Latino populations.
The bill provides some $39.7 billion in funding for security agencies and, if it is not implemented, the DHS will be without operating funds starting Feb 27.
Despite the approval of the measures and their possible approval by the Senate which starting this month will have a Republican majority, the president has warned that he will veto the bills if Congress ultimately adopts them.
Conservatives in Congress, currently in the majority, have begun the new legislative session by attacking the unilateral action taken by Obama claiming that the measures should have been implemented if at all by Congress.
However, for more than a year, Republicans in Congress have been refusing to bring to a vote comprehensive immigration reform that would permanently address the problems with the immigration system, and thus Obama elected to act on his own on the matter as he says he is authorised to do.