June, 7, 2013, Louisville, KY- Immigration reform is just as important to Americans as it is immigrants, but the reform bill is experiencing a number of setbacks. On Thursday, just one day before the Senate began debating the 800 plus pages of the immigration reform bill, members of the House voted to defund the Deferred Deportation for Childhood Arrivals.

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In 2011, 140,433 immigrants called Kentucky home with at least 1.8 percent of those immigrants lacking the necessary documents, according to Urban Institute. While just a small fraction of those undocumented immigrants in the state were undocumented the House decision this week will nonetheless impact some younger Louisville residents.

The DACA, which echoed the DREAM Act, was an executive order issued last June that allowed young immigrants, who were brought into the country illegally by their parents, the opportunity to avoid deportation. These young people were required to apply for a temporary work or student visa within a two year period.  Once they applied for the deferred action program they wouldn’t have to fear deportation. The program didn’t offer them amnesty and they still have to follow the regular processes of becoming legally recognized citizens.

In a 224 to 201 vote, divided along party lines, the House voted to defund the DACA, which was attached to Homeland Security Funding bill, and leading the charge was Rep. Steve King of Iowa, who as vocal critic President Obama takes a hardline on immigration reform.

King explained why the program deserved to be cut, “Whatever people think of the impending immigration policy here in the United States, we cannot allow the executive branch to usurp the legislative authority of the United States Congress,” King said, the Los Angeles Times reported. “If we allow that to happen in immigration, it could happen to anything.”

King also said in a written statement, “My amendment blocks many of the provisions that are mirrored in the Senate’s ‘Gang of Eight’ bill. If this position holds, no amnesty will reach the President’s desk.”

The choice to defund the program angered immigration advocates and Democratic lawmakers alike. Sen. Dick Durbin said of the House vote, “This mean-spirited vote shows that House Republicans have a tin ear for politics and cold hearts when it comes to compassion for young people who have only known America as their home.” He added that the vote was “shameless.”

The DACA was a chance for young immigrants to become legally recognized in lieu of a larger more comprehensive immigration bill, which is facing so many roadblocks at the moment that its future is uncertain.

It’s likely that the Department of Homeland Funding bill won’t pass the Democrat-controlled Senate since it includes defunding the DACA.

Immigrating to the U.S. presents many challenges, from obtaining a visa, to applying for citizenship. Fighting deportation is even more challenging and hard to prevent.  So many immigrants try to take on their immigration –related these issues alone when Louisville immigration attorney Rusty O’Brien could assure their success.

If you are an immigrant, don’t take on the system alone, contact Rusty O’Brien’s office today.

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