House Republicans are caught up in a government spending dilemma in their showdown with President Barack Obama over his divisive executive immigration orders, Politico reported
The GOP's immigration riders attached to the Homeland Security (DHS) spending bill would increase the budget deficit over the next 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
Politico says this would mean that the $39.7 billion measure will need a "supermajority" of 60 votes under Senate budget rules when the vote comes up on Feb. 27, even if Republicans survive a likely Democrat filibuster.
Then, under the riders, there's the implied added cost of $20 billion to $25 billion for the government to deport
all the undocumented workers who could benefit from Obama's recent executive immigration order that gave amnesty to about 5 million "aliens" with children born in the U.S.
That type of money would be hard to find in the light of the Republican-backed spending caps imposed on the House and Senate appropriations committees. But Sen. Jeff Sessions says the battle is not about dollars but upholding the law, according to the political news website.
"Has the Obama administration ever asked for the resources necessary for the task of enforcing the law? Of course not," said a spokesman for the Alabama Republican.
Republicans are hoping to pass legislation in Congress to prevent funding for the agencies that would carry out the immigration order Obama set out in November, as well as for his unilateral action in 2012 deferring deportations for young undocumented immigrants.
Obama makes the case that Congress failed to give him enough discretionary funding to enforce the immigration laws. Last week, in fact, the GOP blasted Obama's plan to adjust the law to increase discretionary funding, including DHS money, above the freeze set for 2016.
"The proposed policy is designed to respond to the practical reality that the number of aliens who are removable … vastly exceeds the resources Congress has made available to DHS for processing and carrying out removals," reads a 33-page opinion from the Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which is pushing for an increase in discretionary funding.
"The resource constraints are striking. … DHS has informed us that there are approximately 11.3 million undocumented aliens in the country but that Congress has appropriated sufficient resources … to remove fewer than 400,000 aliens each year, a significant percentage of whom are typically encountered at or near the border."
The DHS says that the number of annual deportations of illegal immigrants has risen more than 80 percent in the past decade, while enforcement and detention funding have only doubled.
DHS' Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency estimated that in 2013 the average "life cycle" cost for each deportation was $8,661, according to Politico.
Jennifer Elzea, a spokeswoman for ICE, said that the agency "does not track the average cost of removal for an alien, but rather the average life cycle cost per alien."
She told Politico: "This cost is inclusive of the Immigration Enforcement Lifecycle including all costs necessary to identify, apprehend, detain, process through immigration court, and remove an alien."
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