Price Floor Statement Opposing the Mulvaney-Aderholt DHS Funding Amendment

January 14, 2015
Price Floor Statement Opposing the Mulvaney-Aderholt DHS Funding Amendment

Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to this poison pill amendment. It’s a term I don't use lightly, but we all know what this amendment is designed to do – to roll back, in its entirety, the progress that has been made on prioritizing dangerous criminal aliens for deportation and bringing common sense to our deportation policy. In pursing this political vendetta, Republicans are putting at risk a full-year funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security at a time of heightened alert.

The amendment is a laundry list of attacks on anything the executive branch has done to better address immigration and border security policy.  It caters to every whim of the Republican Conference’s most extreme elements. It would defund the Secretary’s “Southern Border and Approaches Campaign”, which established three multi-agency task forces to better unify the Department’s border security efforts.  It would defund the implementation of policies designed to improve employment-based immigration, which brings highly-skilled workers into the country who contribute to our economy.  It would defund the implementation of a policy to parole-in-place the family members of citizens or lawful permanent residents who seek to enlist in the U.S. military, a policy supported by the Department of Defense.  It would defund the Department’s humane approach to providing temporary relief to individuals who were brought to this country illegally as children - - those covered by the Dream Act - - and to the parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who meet certain criteria.

And, of course, it would defund the implementation of the Secretary’s policy on immigration enforcement priorities.  Every law enforcement agency and prosecutor in the country exercises some level of discretion to make the most of limited resources. Just as we would want our police to pursue murderers over traffic violators, so too should DHS focus enforcement efforts on illegal immigrants who pose a threat to our communities.

The premise of this amendment is the allegation that the President overstepped his legal authority by establishing each of these policies. It would be preferable, as the President is the first to acknowledge, to pass comprehensive immigration reform to address our country’s festering immigration challenges. But in the face of House Republicans’ failure to act, the President has taken well-considered steps, each of them well grounded in his legal authority.  If the Republican majority wishes to change the law in some way to deny him such authority, they should introduce legislation to do so. But adoption of this amendment would sabotage the DHS funding bill and undermine our nation’s security at a time of great danger.  I urge my colleagues to oppose this amendment.