The Senate Democrats and President Obama are very troubled by the decision they may soon have to make. They have two options: (1) Fully fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) by passing a House appropriations bill that prohibits Obama's lawless amnesty, or (2) Declare that amnesty for illegal aliens is more important than national security and block the DHS funding bill from becoming law.
This is a choice that they really do not want to make.
The Senate Democrats demanded a bill without the amnesty-defunding provisions in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), arguing that an "appropriations bill is not the place for this debate." They assert that they will not vote for the bill and that even if they did, Obama would veto it anyhow. The Democrats also cite the attacks in France, Australia and Canada, the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and "the proliferation of foreign fighters that return home radicalized," effectively arguing that if they're forced to pick between amnesty and funding DHS, they'll choose amnesty and risk American lives.
In reality, even if the DHS funding bill were tanked by the Senate Democrats, so-called "essential" DHS offices would continue to operate. This includes the Border Patrol, the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Transportation Security Administration. Even much of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — the agency running Obama's lawless amnesty — would remain open and continue to function until the fees they've collected and/or continue to collect run out.
Still, pro-amnesty Sen. Chuck SchumerCharles SchumerWarren: 'Today is a great day... but I'm not doing a touchdown dance' Schumer calls Trump admin 'incompetent' after healthcare bill pulled Trump blames Democrats for ObamaCare defeat MORE (D-N.Y.) claimed that by sending this bill to the Senate, House Republicans "seem to dislike the idea of supporting homeland security." This, despite the fact that it is the Democratic Party threatening to block the funding bill. Schumer continued: "They dislike Dreamers more than they dislike ISIS."
Schumer is confused. If his party blocks the DHS funding bill, it will be clear that the Democrats feel helping illegal aliens is more important than protecting national security. It will be clear that keeping a lawless amnesty running is more important to Democrats than keeping DHS funded.
If the Senate Democrats truly feel this bill's failure would risk lives, perhaps they should pass it and send it to Obama's desk.
Bottom line, the Democrats now must decide whose side they're on: (1) Illegal aliens who believe they are above the law, and lawbreaking employers who want their illegal labor to get work permits, or (2) American voters who want DHS funded, who overwhelmingly say Obama's amnesty "should be blocked," and who overwhelmingly oppose increases in immigration.
If the average American were better represented in Washington, these lawless immigration actions would be stopped. The problem is that the Democratic Party, President Obama and much of the Republican Party put the interests of illegal aliens and their employers ahead of the interests of the American people.
Feere is the legal policy analyst at the Center for Immigration Studies.