In 2015, as I look into my crystal ball on immigration, it is clear that this will be another year of battle over the hot-button issue, especially now that the GOP has taken control of both houses of Congress.
The anger over President Barack Obama’s executive decision to grant a certain group of immigrants’ temporary reprieve to work and live a little freer will certainly continue with the GOP’s new mantra: End your program or the Department of Homeland Security’s funding gets it!
The last Congress proposed the DHS only be funded through Feb. 27 at the fiscal year 2014 spending rate of $39.27 billion under the 1,600-plus page Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (HR 83), passed by the House in a 219 to 206 Dec. 22, 2014.
Of course, the decision was meant by House Speaker John Boehner and cronies to satisfy the right-wing nuts who have no solution in mind, except a new form of slavery, yet want to defund Obama’s executive orders, which offer the one rational solution, albeit temporarily.
But it seems like the president will get the last laugh yet. While Republicans say they want to secure the borders, they are now willing to play politics with the budget of an agency that controls the borders and keeps us all safe. But the biggest joke is that the agency that will be implementing the president’s plan, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, is not funded by the federal governments, but by immigrant fees. Therefore, the only people the GOP will hurt with their stupidity and blatant ignorance is their own constituents, who want the borders safer.
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services will move full speed ahead in its implementation of the laws to tap the boatload of money it will be hauling in, in fees from the more than 5 million immigrants who will benefit from Obama’s order. And I’m pretty sure they will have no problem, like the U.S. State Department, in raising the fees if they see the need. The U.S. State Department, as of Jan. 1, increased its processing fee for the Border Crossing Card for Mexican citizens under age 15 whose parent or guardian has or is applying for a BCC from $16 to $17 in an effort to also cover its cost of providing consular services.
So this GOP plan, as with others, will not work. Immigrant fees keep U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services open and its staff employed. The GOP would do well to educate its congressional representatives on how the DHS processing agency really works so they can stop embarrassing themselves.
Wishful thinking, I know, in 2015. So while we continue to move onwards and upwards in this New Year, Congress and its new set of tea partyites seem content to continue to do the same thing they did in 2014: absolutely nothing!
The writer is CMO of Hard Beat Communications, which owns the brands News Americas Now, CaribPR Wire and Invest Caribbean Now.