The DACA policy, announced by Obama in June 2012, allows young aliens who were brought here illegally before their 16th birthday to apply for a two-year protection against deportation actions and receive work permits. It applies to some 550,000 illegal immigrants who arrived before 2007 and has been blamed by Republicans for encouraging more illegal border crossings, including the surge of a reported 57,000 young immigrants, mainly from Central America, crossing the Texas border in the last in the past 10 months.
The 216-192 vote to rescind the deferred action policy was along party lines with only four Democrats voting with the Republicans and 11 Republicans breaking ranks to join the Democrats in opposing the bill. Earlier in the evening the House passed a bill 223 to 189 to provide $694 million in supplemental funding for a combination of humanitarian assistance and increased security at the border, including $35 million for states that send National Guard troops to the border on their own. The bill also includes a controversial provision for expedited hearings for the immigrants that opponents of the measure say will deprive the aliens of the due process rights under a federal law against drug and human trafficking. The law guarantees hearings for immigrants from countries other than Mexico or Canada.
Neither bill passed Friday night is likely to become law. The Senate left Thursday to begin its summer recess and the bills are not likely to be considered, not to mention passed, by the Democratic majority in the upper chamber when they return. The president has promised a certain veto should either measure reach his desk. The votes do make it more likely, however, that immigration issues will continue to be the subject of heated partisan debate throughout the congressional election campaigns this fall.
"Only cowards scapegoat children and only those who are ashamed of themselves do it after hours on a Friday night," Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) charged during the House debate. Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) blamed Obama and his selective enforcement of the immigration laws for encouraging minors to believe they will be able to stay in the United States once they make it across the border. Many of then never get across alive, he said. "There are reports of discoveries of small, lifeless bodies washed up along the river banks," Labrador said."Many of these children are abused, they're victimized and they're raped. We must understand that the President is responsible because of his failure to fully comply with the law."
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