New GOP Border Security Bill Removes Border Fences

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    Something is missing here…

Neil Munro

The new border bills drafted by Republican leaders require the actual removal of at least 66 miles of weak border fencing between Mexico and the United States.

The border bills also only require for the construction of 27 miles of effective double-layer fencing along the 2,000-mile border.

“It is a remarkable that the direction of our progress is going backwards, from a goal of building 700 miles of double-layer border fencing [in 2006] to only 27 miles [in 2015],” said a Hill staffer who opposes the leaders’ bills.

“Where the double-layer fence has been put in, it has worked spectacularly. The public is with us 80, 90 percent on this issue,” he added.

Extra fencing would be a waste of money, according to Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.
“The bill matches resources to needs, putting 27 more miles of fencing where fencing is needed, and technology where technology is needed,” said the statement.

“In our conversations with outside groups, experts and stakeholders, we learned that it would be an inefficient use of taxpayer money to complete the fence. … We are using that money to utilize other technology to create a secure border,” said the statement.

A House staffer said the McCaul’s bill doesn’t require a major fence because of advocacy by Heritage and Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform.

Dan Holler, communications director for Heritage Action for America, told The Daily Caller that Heritage did not recommend against fencing.

ATR has joined with wealthy advocates — such as former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — to call for increased use of foreign workers and residency for illegal immigrants.

Senate committee staffers declined to offer any reassurances that Senators would modify the bill to fund more fencing and to block Obama’s catch-and-release policy, prior to a Senate vote in a few weeks.

“We’re going to be looking at everything,” said a committee staffer. “We can’t give any detail beyond that.”

The Senate bill is co-sponsored by Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, who co-sponsored the Senate’s 2013 immigration bill.

“We introduced the McCaul [House] bill [in the Senate] as is and plan to update and improve it as we study the issue through [House] briefings and hearings,” said the staffer, who works for the Senate’s homeland security committee. The committee is chaired by Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson.

The public strongly supports a border fence. An April 2013 poll by Rasmussen shows “that 57% of Likely U.S. Voters think the United States should continue building a border fence, while 29% disagree.” Support for the fence is much higher among the GOP-leaning voters that provided the votes for the GOP victory in November.

A 2006 law required the construction of 700 miles of double-layer fencing along the 2,000 mile border. However, Congress quietly modified the bill in 2008 to allow the construction of simple, ineffective fences in place of the required double-layer fencing.

Officials claim that just over 600 miles of the border now have obstructions, including barriers. But those barriers include lines of bollards to stop vehicles, plus single-layer “landing mat fencing” and only 36.5 miles of double-layer fencing.

The leaders’ bills call for the replacement of anti-pedestrian mat fences by anti-vehicle bollards.

The bollards will allow migrants to be driven up to the border, and then walked over to a pick-up vehicle on the U.S. side.

“Not later than 18 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Homeland Security shall replace, at a minimum, each of the following: (A) Thirty-one miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector. (B) Five miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s El Centro sector. (C) Three miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector. (D) Twenty-five miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector. (E) Two miles of landing mat fencing with bollard style fencing in the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector,” says a section on page 12 of the House bill, HR 399.

Despite the bill’s requirement to reduce fencing, McCaul’s statement declared that “this bill is the toughest border security bill ever before Congress.”

But the leaders’ border security bill also doesn’t even try to block Obama’s catch-and-release policies, said the Hill staffer who opposes the leaders’ bill. Even if additional spending and border guards catch more migrants, Obama’s deputies will likely release them and give them work permits unless the laws are changed, he said.

GOP legislators who support the leaders’ bill are “unwilling participants in a con job” against their own voters, he said.

But the GOP leadership has fast-tracked the border bill, which will be debated and perhaps amended during a House hearing during the afternoon of Jan. 21.

In 2010, President Barack Obama claimed the partially built fence is “now basically complete.” Since then, he has allowed more than 150,000 lower-skilled Central Americans migrants who cross unfenced parts of the border to stay, apply for asylum, and get government benefits and work permits.

In November, Obama also promised to halt the repatriation of the 12 million illegals living in the United States, and has promised to give at least four million work permits to migrants with U.S.-born children.

In December, GOP leaders agreed to fund Obama’s de facto amnesty, despite overwhelming opposition from the GOP’s base and from swing voters.

Many GOP leaders say the nation’s employers should be allowed to hire hundreds of thousands of foreign workers for the food-sector, for blue-collar jobs and for professional work in hospitals, universities and many other non-technology jobs, plus technology jobs.

Texas legislators have strongly pushed for easy hiring of foreign migrants. For example, the chairman of the critical House rules committee, Texas Rep. Pete Sessions predicted the GOP would ensure a complete amnesty for the low-wage illegals now working in the United States.

Numerous polls show that Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to the displacement of American workers by migrant workers. For example, a September 2014 poll by Paragon Insights showed that large slices of the Democratic coalition would be “much more likely” to vote for a GOP candidate who says that “the first goal of immigration policy needs to be getting unemployed Americans back to work – not importing more low-wage workers to replace them.”

Thirty-eight percent of African-Americans, 39 percent of Democratic women, 36 percent of Latinos and roughly 47 percent of Midwesterners said they would be much more likely to support a GOP candidate who favors the employment of Americans.

Defiant Obama to Go On Offense in State of Union

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(Washington Post) – The tone and tenor of the Obama White House since Democrats suffered a crushing defeat during the November midterm elections have been anything but conciliatory and have raised doubts about whether the president can — or wants to — break through partisan gridlock before voters choose his successor next year.

The president will enter the House chamber Tuesday night for his sixth State of the Union address riding a wave of confidence driven by an improving economy and brightening public approval ratings. And he seems as defiant as ever.

Although Obama has vetoed just two bills in his six years, the White House has threatened to veto five measures from Congress this month alone — including legislation that would authorize the Keystone XL oil sands pipeline, tie funding of the Department of Homeland Security to a rollback of Obama’s executive actions on immigration, and impose new economic sanctions on Iran.

Obama vowed in a private meeting with Democrats last week that he will play “offense” during the final two years of his presidency, building on the aggressive executive actions he laid out over the past two months. The legislative proposals he has previewed — including a plan for free community college and a revamping of the tax code — have been based firmly on his terms, drawing objections from Republicans.

In the weeks leading up to the speech, Obama has toured the country trying to build momentum, putting Republicans on the defensive. Twenty-three guests will join first lady Michelle Obama in her box during the prime-time address, as the president seeks to illustrate his priorities for improving the lives of middle-class Americans. And the White House announced that Obama will travel to Boise, Idaho, and Lawrence, Kan., this week to follow up on his speech in a pair of deep-red states — including one, Idaho, that he has never visited as president.

The Washington Post looks back at some of the top issues of 2014.
“America’s resurgence is real,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “Our job now is to make sure that every American feels that they’re a part of our country’s comeback. That’s what I’ll focus on in my State of the Union — how to build on our momentum, with rising wages, growing incomes and a stronger middle class. And I’ll call on this new Congress to join me in putting aside the political games and finding areas where we agree so we can deliver for the American people.”

White House aides said they see no contradiction in Obama’s approach to dealing with the GOP-controlled Congress this year, and they point out that some of his proposals received Republican support in the past. They say Obama is eager to work with the GOP in areas where there is common ground, such as free trade and infrastructure. Republicans — including Obama’s 2012 opponent, Mitt Romney — have been adopting a more populist message on the economy, emphasizing mobility and wage growth, ahead of the 2016 presidential race.

Yet as Obama takes his case to the American public in his address, he has made clear that he doesn’t intend to cede much ground to his rivals.

“Some of them are going to be legislative proposals Republicans may not love, but we’ll push them,” White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He emphasized that the administration will use “every lever we can — whether it’s with Congress, on our own or using the bully pulpit.”

The president’s proposal to raise $320 billion in new revenue over 10 years by increasing taxes and fees for wealthy Americans and big financial institutions angered Republicans, who had cited tax reform as a potential area of compromise.

“I would guess the president would love for Republicans in Congress to take the bait or to somehow have our heads turned away from working toward constructive solutions in some cases,” Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) said in an interview, when asked about Obama’s strategy. “Our goal should be to perform, to show we can legislate responsibly, to show that we are steady, to show that we look out in advance for oncoming issues that need to be dealt with, and that we don’t have the herky-jerky, stop-start, government-on and government-off method that’s been occurring in recent times.”

Corker was one of three congressional Republicans who flew aboard Air Force One with Obama to Knoxville, Tenn., two weeks ago for the president’s announcement of his community college plan — which the White House said would cost the federal government at least $60 billion over 10 years. Their presence on the presidential jet suggested, at least symbolically, that Obama intended new outreach across the aisle. But Corker said that he doesn’t agree with the community college plan — and that he and Obama did not discuss it during their flight or subsequent ride together in the presidential limousine. Rather, he said, they focused on foreign policy. Corker is the new chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Inside the West Wing, presidential advisers said they don’t think Obama’s aggressive rollout of executive actions and new proposals would further poison the political environment or diminish his chances of working with Republicans on what could be lasting achievements. Rather, aides said, the GOP will pursue bipartisan legislation when it is in their best interest, pointing to Republican support for a $1 trillion spending plan last month to keep the government open.

White House allies have been buoyed by the president’s newly vigorous posture. After two years in which the White House often found itself on the defensive amid a series of domestic and international crises, the president and his advisers have made “a tactical change,” said Simon Rosenberg, founder of the New Democrat Network, a liberal think tank. “They’re doing a better job at creating attention around the fact that they actually have a plan, a series of things they want to do.”

But Republicans insist that won’t be enough. The GOP-controlled Congress is unlikely to pursue the proposals he has put forward and instead will begin to put bills on Obama’s desk and dare him to stop them.

“Given how poorly the election went for them, they need to find some way to derive a narrative,” David Winston, president of the Winston Group, a conservative consulting firm, said of the White House. On the president’s executive actions, he added, “There’s only so many he can do. . . . Ultimately, they have to figure out as a White House how to actually interact and get things done at a national level.”

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OBAMA TO DELIVER STATE OF UNION ADDRESS—Obama invites illegal to address

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    Obama invites illegal to address

by SPUTNIK | JANUARY 20, 2015

US President Barack Obama will be delivering his State of the Union address on Tuesday at 9:00 p.m. local time (4:00 GMT), laying out his policy agenda before the Republican-controlled US Congress, discussing tax hikes for the rich, cybersecurity legislation, criminal justice and immigration reforms.

Over the past month Obama has traveled across the United States, giving a preview of what he will present when he addresses Congress, and allowing members of the Republican opposition in the House and Senate to mount a response.

White House Guest List Indicates President’s Agenda

On Monday, the White House published a list of 22 guests from the general public that will be attending the State of the Union speech, giving some sense of the president’s priorities entering 2015.

“These guests exemplify the themes and ideals that the President lays out in his address,” the White House press release stated.

Among the individuals, invited to attend the State of the Union and watch the president’s speech with First Lady Michelle Obama, are an individual enrolled in a community college, an African-American teenager from Chicago, focused on safety in his community, prisoners released from Cuba late last year, patients who received care through the Affordable Care Act, a wounded veteran from Afghanistan, individuals struggling with the current US minimum wage, and young immigrants to the United States.

Domestic Issues Top the Agenda

On Tuesday, the president is expected to raise a number of domestic issues with members of Congress, including raising the minimum wage, providing students with two years of free community college, tax hikes for the rich and extended tax breaks for lower income families, alongside cuts to mortgage insurance rates.

There has already been opposition from the Republican majority in both the US House and the Senate to a number of the president’s initiatives. The proposal leaked out of the White House last week announced $235 billion in additional taxes, collected from top earners, and has created some sore feelings on the right and left, with some US media pundits calling the initiative a “Robin Hood Tax.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesperson referred to the president’s tax proposal as “redistributing wealth,” arguing that the president’s proposed reforms, explained in a Friday White House fact sheet, will overcomplicate the US tax code, rather than simplify it.

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch also blasted President Obama for “slapping American small businesses, savers and investors with more tax hikes” with his new tax proposal that will be fully unveiled on Tuesday.

The president has also taken criticism from Republican House Majority Leader John Boehner over his proposal for two free years of community college for qualifying students.

“With no details or information on the cost, this seems more like a talking point than a plan,” Boehner’s spokesperson told the press when the plan was revealed last week.

One area of the Obama administration’s domestic agenda that may receive broad support is the possibility of the president putting criminal justice reform on the agenda. The issue has grabbed national headlines in the wake of numerous police killings of young, African-Americans. Currently there are multiple pieces of legislation to address racial inequality in the US criminal justice system that enjoy bipartisan congressional support.

National Security, International Issues

In the national security arena, President Obama appears positioned to gain traction on his agenda, which was outlined in the president’s Friday press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.

At the top of the list of national security initiatives is Obama’s recently announced cybersecurity legislation, a proposal that is likely to garner extensive bipartisan support from the Congress, following high level cyber hacks against US companies and government agencies in recent months.

“I’m glad [Obama] is pushing to address cyber legislation,” said Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire when the president rolled out his cyber initiative last week. Ayotte, a leading member of the Senate Armed Services Committee added that the US has stalled such legislation in the past, noting, “I think we can’t afford to stall anymore.”

However, on issues of homeland security, the Congress and the president still remain divided, with a temporary spending limit looming over the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until February. Republican lawmakers imposed the spending limit on the DHS at the end of last year as a mechanism to defund President Obama’s November executive action on immigration reform.

Obama has stated on multiple occasions that he will veto any DHS appropriations bill, defunding his immigration action, creating uncertainty both on the status of the executive action and the continued funding for the third largest US federal agency, DHS.

Last year, the US Congress was united in their support for tougher measures against Russia, including new sanctions and weapons provisions to the government of Ukraine. The Obama administration has so far maintained its position of prohibiting the transfer of offensive weapons to the government of Kiev, but the president announced in his Friday speech with Cameron that he would keep up the pressure on Russia, saying the transatlantic alliance agrees “on the need to maintain strong sanctions against Russia.”

Presidential Veto Threat

“There is so much we can get accomplished for the American people, if the president’s willing to work with us,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in a press release last week.

President Obama has made similar overtures for collaboration to the new, Republican-controlled Congress, but has so far stood his ground on key policy positions. In the first week the US Congress was in session, Obama threatened to veto nearly half a dozen pieces of legislation, including new sanctions on Iran, and legislation for the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.

During his six years in office, Obama has vetoed only two pieces of legislation, but has also enjoyed majority support in both houses of Congress in his first term, and a Democratic majority in the Senate for the first two years of his second term.

The upcoming congressional work session, following Tuesday’s State of the Union address, will last until the late-February district working session. The legislative agenda will be set by House and Senate Republicans, but also informed by initiatives introduced by President Obama in his Tuesday address.

OBAMA AMNESTY QUALIFIES 2 MILLION ILLEGALS FOR TAX BREAKS, BENEFITS

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Whereas Americans suffer under Obamacare tax

By Stephen Dinan – The Washington Times – Thursday, January 15, 2015
More than 2 million illegal immigrants will be approved for President Obama’s deportation amnesty over the next few years, and they will be eligible to collect Social Security and Medicare benefits as well as claim a special tax break for low-income families, the Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis Thursday.

Mr. Obama predicted that up to 5 million illegal immigrants could be eligible for his amnesties, but the CBO numbers predict only 2.25 million will have signed up and been approved by 2017.

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The estimate was released as the administration defended the law in a federal court in Texas on Thursday, asking a judge to reject a request by Texas and two dozen other states to halt the program even before it gets started.

Judge Andrew S. Hanen, sitting in Brownsville, said he won’t rule before the end of the month. Applications for the first part of the amnesty are scheduled to begin in the middle of February.

“There aren’t any bad guys in this,” Judge Hanen told attorneys for both sides, according to The Brownsville Herald. He gave no indication of which way he is leaning in the thorny case, which is likely to determine Mr. Obama’s legacy on immigration.

Texas and its allies argue that Mr. Obama overstepped his legal bounds in November when he announced a program to halt deportations for illegal immigrant parents who have legal resident or U.S. citizen children, and to expand a 2012 amnesty for illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children.

To win, the states first must prove that they were injured by the amnesty, which would give them “standing” to sue. Then they must prove that Mr. Obama’s actions are either unconstitutional because they try to rewrite the laws, which is Congress’ job, or else they are official policies that should have been submitted to the public for comment and revisions before they were enacted.

Administration attorneys told Judge Hanen that Mr. Obama isn’t rewriting law, but rather deciding whom to prosecute under it based on his powers of prosecutorial discretion. The attorneys say presidents going back to the 1950s have used similar powers to halt deportations, albeit on smaller scales.

The Obama administration said if it declares most illegal immigrants off limits for deportation, it will be easier to pursue the recent illegal immigrants and the serious felons who won’t qualify for the leniency.

Mexican officials, hoping to help their citizens stay in the U.S., began issuing birth certificates at consulates Thursday.

Mexicans make up the majority of the illegal immigrant population in the U.S., though Central Americans may be rivaling them among newcomers, according to statistics.

Although Judge Hanen didn’t tip his hand about his thinking, administration supporters fear the worst. They point to a striking order he issued in December 2013, at the beginning of the surge of Central American children crossing the border, that accused the Homeland Security Department of being complicit in human trafficking.

Judge Hanen said because agents would take children caught at the border to their parents living illegally in the U.S., without trying to deport either of them, the government was in effect doing the job of smugglers and encouraging others to make the same journey.

“Clearly, the plaintiffs filed their suit in Brownsville for one reason — a friendly judge,” said America’s Voice Education Fund, which lobbies for immigrants’ rights.

Three self-identified illegal immigrants, who filed as “Jane Doe” litigants, asked Judge Hanen on Thursday to be allowed to join the lawsuit in defense of the president’s policies.

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed on their behalf, said they “could face deportation and separation from their families and their communities” if the president’s amnesty is struck down.

They are three of the millions who could qualify, but the CBO report suggested that many of those who are eligible for amnesty won’t apply.

All told, the budget analysts predicted that 1.5 million will have been approved under the amnesty for illegal immigrant parents by 2017, while 750,000 illegal immigrants will have been approved under the modified 2012 amnesty for Dreamers, who are illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

The total illegal immigrant population in the U.S. is estimated to be 11 million to 12 million people. The number dropped at the beginning of the Obama administration but has been ticking up in recent years.

Most illegal immigrants who do not qualify for the amnesty are unlikely to be deported under the guidelines Mr. Obama issued in November, which call for only the most serious criminals to be deported.

On Wednesday, the House voted to insist that convicted sex criminals be included in that list of crimes serious enough to demand deportation.

Those who are granted amnesty are also entitled to work permits, allowing them to compete legally for jobs. Texas and its allied states argued that those who get the amnesty are also eligible for some state benefits and services, such as a driver’s license and, in some states, concealed weapons permits or health care.

The CBO also said those covered by the temporary amnesty, which the government refers to as “deferred action,” will be eligible for some federal benefits.

“Because they are lawfully present during the period of their deferred status, they are eligible to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits if they meet the programs’ requirements,” the CBO said in its report. “In addition, those individuals who are approved for deferred action and receive work authorization have Social Security numbers and therefore can claim the earned income tax credit if they qualify. They are ineligible for other federal benefit programs.”

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, which filed on their behalf, said they “could face deportation and separation from their families and their communities” if the president’s amnesty is struck down.

They are three of the millions who could qualify, but the CBO report suggested that many of those who are eligible for amnesty won’t apply.

All told, the budget analysts predicted that 1.5 million will have been approved under the amnesty for illegal immigrant parents by 2017, while 750,000 illegal immigrants will have been approved under the modified 2012 amnesty for Dreamers, who are illegal immigrants brought to the U.S. as children.

The total illegal immigrant population in the U.S. is estimated to be 11 million to 12 million people. The number dropped at the beginning of the Obama administration but has been ticking up in recent years.

Most illegal immigrants who do not qualify for the amnesty are unlikely to be deported under the guidelines Mr. Obama issued in November, which call for only the most serious criminals to be deported.

On Wednesday, the House voted to insist that convicted sex criminals be included in that list of crimes serious enough to demand deportation.

Those who are granted amnesty are also entitled to work permits, allowing them to compete legally for jobs. Texas and its allied states argued that those who get the amnesty are also eligible for some state benefits and services, such as a driver’s license and, in some states, concealed weapons permits or health care.

The CBO also said those covered by the temporary amnesty, which the government refers to as “deferred action,” will be eligible for some federal benefits.

“Because they are lawfully present during the period of their deferred status, they are eligible to receive Medicare and Social Security benefits if they meet the programs’ requirements,” the CBO said in its report. “In addition, those individuals who are approved for deferred action and receive work authorization have Social Security numbers and therefore can claim the earned income tax credit if they qualify. They are ineligible for other federal benefit programs.”

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House Votes to Defund Obama’s Immigration Action

Jan. 14, 2015 11:17am Pete Kasperowicz

The House voted Wednesday to defund President Barack Obama’s executive action on immigration, a step Republicans promised to take after Obama said in November he would provide legal protection for up to 5 million illegal immigrants.

Members voted 237-190 in favor of a defunding amendment brought by Rep. Bob Aderholt (R-Ala.). All but seven Republicans supported it, and it was opposed by all Democrats.

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House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he would fight ‘tooth and nail’ against President Barack Obama’s immigration action, and on Wednesday, the House approved language to defund that action on a DHS spending bill.
Image: AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

Republicans voting against it were Reps. Carlos Curbello (Fla.), Jeff Denham (Calif.), Mario Diaz-Balart (Fla.), Bob Dold (Ill.), Renee Ellmers (N.C.), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (Fla.) and David Valadao (Calif.).

With that vote, Aderholt’s language was attached to a Department of Homeland Security spending bill, which the House then passed shortly after noon in a 236-191 vote.

Aderholt’s language would block funding for Obama’s executive action, even those funds that agencies collect on their own through fees. It would prevent enforcement of memos DHS released in 2011 and 2012 that allow agencies to halt immigration enforcement on various classes of illegal immigrants.

It would also block any effort to carry out similar policies, and prevent the executive branch from giving any benefit to illegal immigrants that aren’t prescribed under law.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) promised to fight Obama’s action “tooth and nail,” and attaching the defunding language to the DHS spending bill is one of the stronger steps the GOP could take. Many conservatives feared the House might pass a defunding bill as a separate item, which would have made it much easier for Obama to ignore.

Attaching it to the DHS spending bill sets up an immediate challenge to Obama, who has said he would veto the bill if it defunds his immigration plan.

It also raises questions about how the Senate will handle the bill. It’s possible that Republicans may have to consider tweaking the language in order to find the 60 votes needed to start work on the bill, and failure to do so could effectively kill the bill in the upper chamber.

But this week, at least, House Republicans were holding firm, and were led by Boehner himself in the effort to fight back against Obama’s attempt to go around Congress.

“We do not take this action lightly, but simply, there is no alternative,” Boehner said, making one of his rare appearances on the House floor to speak about specific legislation. “This executive overreach is an affront to the rule of law and to the Constitution itself.”

“Enough is enough,” Boehner added. “By their votes last November, the people made clear that they wanted more accountability from this president, and by our votes here today, we will heed their will and we will keep our oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.”

Democrats used the debate to warn that Obama’s actions were legal, and that the defunding language threatens to create a fight that could lead to the partial shutdown of DHS. Several Democrats have noted that Congress should not put at risk DHS funding, especially after the attacks against Charlie Hebdo in France last week.

“I am deeply disappointed that Republicans insist on making Congress play out this farce at the expense of our Nation’s security,” said Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, on Tuesday. “It has taken less than two weeks for the Republican Congress to prove that it cannot govern responsibly.”

Members considered two other substantive amendments to the bill. One from Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) would prohibit the use of any federal funding to consider new applications under Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. That program, known as DACA, has given legal protection to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who came to the country with their parents.

That amendment narrowly passed in a 218-209 vote, as 26 Republicans voted against it along with every Democrat.

Another bill from Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) would prioritize for deportation any illegal immigrant who is convicted of sex offenses. Obama’s immigration plan puts these immigrants on a second tier of priority for deportation.

The House passed this amendment in a 278-149 vote. Thirty-five Democrats voted with Republicans on this measure, and one Republican voted against it.

Reps. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) and Aaron Schock (R-Ill.) also put forward amendments that express a sense of Congress that the White House should not pursue immigration policies that disadvantage U.S. workers, or ignore immigrants who are trying to come to the U.S. legally. Salmon’s language passed 253-171, and Schock’s language passed 260-167.

— This story was updated at 12:06 p.m.