Congress passed an immigration bill on Friday August 1 before heading on a five-week recess. The bill was stalled on Thursday due to disagreements in the wording of the proposed bill.
The Republican controlled Congress stayed in the nation’s capital Thursday and worked through the night and Friday morning.
The bill was passed Friday by a 223-189 Republican vote. On Thursday GOP, leaders pulled the bill from the House floor due to concerns over the wording. On Friday, the revised bill addressed the loophole in current immigration laws that are luring children from Central America to flood the United States borders.
The final bill also gave the National Guard more money to help secure the borders and states like Texas will be reimbursed for the money already spent using the Guard.
Congressman Ken Calvert who represents the 42nd district in Riverside County spoke to the Valley News moments before heading to the floor of the house to vote.
“The national media reported we left for recess without voting on this bill. We did not leave,” Calvert said. “This is a big issue. It’s an atrocity what is happening at our borders.”
Calvert said media outlets falsely reported the Republican controlled House left.
“We needed to tighten the language and clear up our own disagreements before voting,” Calvert said.
Calvert’s district was thrust into the middle of the immigration crisis in June when hundreds of illegal immigrants from Central America were bused to the California Border Patrol Station in Murrieta. Residents in Murrieta banded together and blocked the buses sent by the Department of Homeland Security.
In addition to closing the loophole to amend the William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act of 2008, the republicans also put before the house Friday a bill to deny President Barack Obama the authority to halt deportations of young immigrants — the so-called “Dreamers.”
“This bill treats everyone equal. Whether if you come from Mexico or Central America or another country,” Calvert said.
The 2008 law states Mexicans can be deported within 48 hours if they cross the borders illegally while children other than Mexicans can stay for up to 578 days.
Calvert said Congress has to send the message to Central America that the last people in will be the first sent back. “If people are being sent back right away it will send a message that coming to the United States illegally isn’t working.”
Before the vote, the White House accused the Republicans of trying to dismantle extensions on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, which currently affects DREAMers brought to the United States before 2007.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said in a statement Thursday before a bill was passed,
“By failing to act on an immigration reform bill that requires that people who are here illegally pay taxes, undergo background checks and get on the right side of the law, the House is instead driving an approach that is about rounding up and deporting 11 million people, separating families and undermining DHS’ ability to secure the border.”
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi a California Democrats said on the House floor in regards to the GOP’s bill, “Republicans have truly lost their way.” Pelosi then stated a proverb about the Republicans not being good Samaritans.
Pelosi went head to head with Republican Congressman Tom Marino from Pennsylvania on Friday. The video of the high energy fingerwagging debate splashed across TV and social media channels.
The House sent the bill to the Senate Friday with according to Calvert a “same day rule” allowing the Senate to come back and vote on the bill in one day.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Friday told media he does not see the Democratic controlled Senate approving the House version of the bill.
Obama is requesting for $3.7 billion in emergency funds to secure the border and speed up the processing of new arrivals. The Republicans bill that passed in the House calls for $22 million to accelerate the immigration process and 29 million to the National Guard and 4.5 million to Department of Homeland Security.
“ICE and the Border Patrol are running out of money,” Calvert said.