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Department Of Homeland Security Defunding Looms Executive Action Delayed
Monday afternoon saw another failed vote for Department of Homeland Security (DHS) funding in the Senate, as the most recent bill received only 47 of the necessary 60 votes to succeed. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) has announced a new plan to separate the recent immigration orders released by President Obama in November, 2014 from the funding bill, in an effort to combat the reservations that many Senators have had. This way, the Senate can vote on the funding bill without the complication of deciding whether they intend to support the President’s new Executive Actions.
Funding for DHS is scheduled to run out on Friday. If the Senate is not able to pass a bill before then, there will be thousands of workers furloughed. Those who are not in “essential” positions will not be working, and those whose positions are “essential for the preservation of the safety of human life or the protection of property” will be required to work, though many will work without pay. Those whose positions are funded by outside sources will also work and be paid. DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson has announced that the shutdown will have a disastrous effect on many Americans, and is preparing DHS employees for the potential furlough period, which would continue until the Senate is able to reach an agreement on the funding bill. Most USCIS officers will still work, as they are funded mostly through immigration application filing fees, as will Customs and Border Patrol Officers. However, the shutdown would halt the E-Verify program, which allows employers to check the immigration status of potential employees. It will also stop the flow of funding from DHS to state and local governments.
If the proposed Senate bill separates the new Executive Action from the funding issue, the Executive Action could be implemented even in the event of the DHS shutdown. However, with the recent injunction ordered by U.S. District Court Judge Andrew Hanen, the Executive Action is being temporarily halted. The Justice Department has filed for an emergency stay of that injunction, as well as a formal appeal, but no decision has been made as of yet.
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