WASHINGTON — The GOP-controlled House approved a bill Wednesday — going nowhere for now — to roll back immigration reforms ordered by President Barack Obama, even to help youths illegally in the country through no fault of their own.
Republican House leaders allowed votes on the legislation and its associated amendments to throw some red meat at anti-immigration lawmakers to try to appease them. Today was a symbolic show.
The immigration provisions are in a bigger bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security beyond Feb. 27. For now, the legislation is stalled, though all signs point to Congress eventually making a deal.
What passed Wednesday in the House will not survive intact. Though Senate Republicans are now in the majority — there are only 54 of them — and the Senate needs 60 votes for this to pass.
Anyway, the White House has already vowed a veto. “There’s no reason to tinker with the executive actions at all,” White House Domestic Policy chief Cecilia Munoz told reporters in a briefing call.
Some Illinois-related observations:
Rep. Bob Dold, R-Ill., won a return to the House last November — after being thrown out in 2012 — with a campaign promising he would be independent.
Dold was one of 26 Republicans who voted against an amendment to the Homeland Security funding bill that would have eroded Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as “DACA.” Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., also was one of the 26.
Undocumented immigrant youths have come out from hiding under DACA, and the amendment to erode it — sponsored by Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. — passed with the minimum number of votes needed, 218-209.
And that brings me to the next Illinois story and Rep. Aaron Schock, R-Ill.
Everything I know about Schock’s views on immigration points to his being a no vote on the Blackburn amendment, dealing with youths often referred to as “DREAMers.”
So why did he vote yes on Blackburn? Blackburn passed with no vote to spare. As a member of the House GOP leadership vote-counting team, Schock could not be the guy who let the amendment fail.
I cut Schock some slack here. He knew Blackburn was going nowhere, and by not bucking leaders on this one, he saved a rebel move for when it would count.
Schock passed an amendment on a 260-167 roll call that may well be part of the final measure.
Schock’s measure would, among other things, ban the use of fees paid by legal immigrants to process their legalization papers to the “unlawful applicants” covered under the executive order Obama signed in November, after the midterm elections.
Seventeen Democrats voted for the Schock amendment, including Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-Ill., and Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., a national leader on immigration, deplored the GOP House moves. He headed to Providence, Rhode Island, on Wednesday for the first of a dozen forums across the nation in the coming months to educate folks on how they can benefit from Obama’s orders and avoid deportation.