Many news outlets have reported that the White House plans to take executive action that will have a significant impact on undocumented immigrants in the United States once Congress leaves for recess in August – a move that some conservative members of Congress feel would be grounds for impeachment. Before recess begins, Congress will be voting on the President’s $3.7 billion request for funding to help address the current immigration crisis at the country’s southwestern border involving tens of thousands of unaccompanied refugee children. In an effort to appeal to conservatives, House Republicans have amended the bill to create a temporary solution, providing funding through September 30, rather than the remainder of the year. Their bill, however, incorporates significant changes to a 2008 law that has provided important protections to the children at the border. The Democrats, on the other hand, are advocating for a smaller amount – closer to 2.5 billion – with no changes to any law.
Success on any bill seems doubtful, however, especially with less than 2 days left for a Congressional compromise. A recent Politico article, “House GOP faces big week on border crisis,” points out that passage of a bill is crucial for House Republicans’ ability to define themselves before the five week break: it will either define them as ineffective in times of crisis, or it will put the onus on House Democrats to compromise. There is no doubt that both parties will jump on any opportunity to praise its own actions or vilify those of its opponent, especially now that many Americans are beginning to rank immigration as a higher priority issue than the economy and jobs.
For more, see Polititco’s “GOP cuts cost – and timeline – on border bill”; The Washington Post’s blog, “With four days to go until recess, can Congress get it all done?”; and “Obama Mulls Large-Scale Move on Immigration,” by Erica Werner of the Associated Press.