Ms. McCOLLUM. Mr. Speaker, I rise in strong opposition to the Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act of 2013 (H.R. 2217).
As a member of the Appropriations Committee, we passed a bipartisan Homeland Security appropriations bill. I believe, that legislation would have passed the House by an overwhelming margin.
Unfortunately, an amendment offered by Representative Steve King of Iowa was added to the bill on the floor; it is a poison pill for any member who cares about advancing comprehensive immigration reform. The King amendment terminates specific Obama Administration policies on immigration, including deferred action for childhood arrivals, supporting prosecutor discretion for victims of crimes, and prioritizing the deportation of violent criminals. The King amendment was adopted in a highly partisan vote of 224-201, with 221 Republicans voting for this anti-immigrant measure.
Specifically, the King amendment would mean that young people, who were brought here as children by their parents and grew up in America, will face deportation from the country they consider their own. It means victims of domestic abuse and human trafficking could face deportation for reporting their abusers.
Prioritizing public safety is only common sense. Immigration officials should be focused on deporting dangerous individuals, not working families or victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. Denying law enforcement officials the ability to use their discretion is not only a foolish and ineffective method of directing our resources, but inhumane.
I strongly support the Obama Administration policies that the King amendment eliminates. As a co-sponsor of the DREAM Act in the 111th and 112th Congress, I am appalled that House Republicans would support eliminating this policy and forcing these young people to live with the fear of being deported. Dreamers want and deserve the chance to earn American citizenship so they can fully contribute to the country they have always viewed as their own.
The King amendment will have a chilling effect on the movement for comprehensive immigration reform. The Senate is making real progress in negotiations, but this anti-immigrant amendment suggests that House Republicans have no interest in the real reform needed to fix our broken immigration system.