Some Republicans Won't Back Border Bill Without Rescinding DACA

Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 08:14 PM

By Todd Beamon

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The House of Representatives will delay the start of a five-week recess on Friday to address the illegal immigration crisis, but two conservative Republicans told Newsmax on Thursday that they will not support any legislation that does not require President Barack Obama to rescind the executive order that created the debacle.

"I'd like to see the ending of DACA," Texas Rep. Steve Stockman said, referring to the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. "This is one of the most cruel and inhumane laws, but it wasn't designed to be. It was designed to be the exact opposite."

Issued by Obama in 2012, DACA ended the threat of deportation for as many as 670,000 illegal immigrants between the ages of 15 and 31 who were brought to the United States before their 16th birthday. Obama recently extended the program for two more years.

"We have to admit failure," Stockman added. "I want to see the correction of that failure. We're hurting more people right now, and there has to be shown some compassion to these people by turning them back."

Michigan Rep. Kerry Bentivolio said he also wanted the legislation to "make sure our border is secure. We want to make sure the president enforces the rules on the books and rescinds DACA.

"I also want to see some of that money cut from Mexico and Central America until they help us."

House Republicans decided Thursday afternoon that they would stay in Washington until they passed a funding bill to address the crisis. The move came after Speaker John Boehner canceled a vote on the GOP's $659 million spending bill in the face of strong opposition from conservatives.

Legislators announced their decision after a closed-door meeting, and the House leaders will meet with holdouts Thursday night to make revisions to the bill. The full Republican Conference is to meet privately at 9 a.m.

Louisiana Rep. John Fleming said that to get his vote, "they would have to massively change what’s in the bill."

"There are numerous steps the president can and should be taking right now, without the need for congressional action, to secure our borders and ensure these children are returned swiftly and safely to their countries," Boehner and other conference leaders said earlier Thursday. "We will continue to work on solutions to the border crisis and other challenges facing our country."

In a last-ditch effort to lure conservatives, House GOP leaders had agreed to a separate vote on a companion measure that would have blocked Obama from expanding DACA to more immigrants living here illegally.

That did not register well with conservatives, who called for tougher measures — including defunding DACA outright.

Many of the conservatives were urged by Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to reject the House plan. The tea party-aligned senator met with about a dozen Republicans late Wednesday to discuss a strategy on the proposal.

Stockman was among the group, he told Newsmax.

Cruz been an influential voice among House Republicans, urging them to oppose Obamacare at every turn. His encouragement to withhold support for government spending unless the president’s healthcare law was defunded led to the partial government shutdown in October.

The bill's withdrawal culminated a hectic day on Capitol Hill as Congress was likely to head into its summer recess without approving legislation to address the border crisis. The Senate was to vote later Thursday on a $2.7 billion plan, less than the $3.7 billion Obama requested.

Republicans and Democrats also disagreed about moves by the GOP to change DACA.

Between last Oct. 1 and June 15, more than 57,000 illegal minors have been detained at the South Texas border after the crossing the Rio Grande River from Mexico. The figure is double the total arrested in the same period the previous year.

Most of the children come from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. The Obama administration now estimates that as many as 90,000 could be apprehended by the end of September.

Despite the uproar by conservatives over the withdrawn bill, another Texas Republican, Rep. Blake Farenthold, told Newsmax that he supported it.

"This is a crisis and we need to deal with it," he said. "There's nothing in this bill that a conservative can't get behind. Most of the complaints that I'm hearing about it is that it doesn't go far enough.

"There's a whole lot more we can do, but doing something is better than doing nothing. If we don't do anything, it really opens it up for the president. I think we give him a media win on that one."

But that argument carried no weight with Stockman. "We're up here to do the right thing, but sometimes the right thing is to say no."

Regardless of what passes the House, he said it would not be accepted by Obama or the Democratic-controlled Senate, which is led by Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.

"The president can do whatever he wants on this — and we're going to get blamed for it. Historically, Republicans try to do the right thing. It goes over to the Senate. Then Harry Reid declares that it's a disaster.

"If the president drove the car in the ditch, I don't think Republicans should get behind the steering wheel and take credit for it," Stockman said.

"I see it as a mistake that we're going to do this, because I know that Harry Reid is not going to adopt a Republican bill."

Bentivolio, a first-term congressman who faces a GOP primary in Michigan on Tuesday, told Newsmax that DACA needs to be rescinded because the illegal immigrants must be returned to their home countries.

After touring the three Central American countries earlier this month, "I got the impression that they don't really want anybody back and that they don't really care," Bentivolio said. "They're exporting their problems to us."

He and members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee met with officials from El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala — along with representatives of religious and volunteer organizations.

"They don't really want to solve this problem. They just want to export their problem."

The $659 million cost also is too much, Bentivolio said.

"You know who's going to pay for this?" he asked. "Hard-working, middle-class Americans — and there's fewer and fewer of us every day.

"I have to worry about my community, my hard-working Americans — and make sure my kids get a college education. The children in my district, my state, and my country."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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