What: All Issues : Making Government Work for Everyone, Not Just the Rich or Powerful : Immigration Law Reform : HR 2638. (Fiscal 2008 Homeland Security appropriations), Forbes of Virginia amendment that would prevent the Homeland Security Department from allowing certain immigrants to stay inside the United States beyond the period initially granted/On agreeing to the amendment (2007 house Roll Call 487)
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HR 2638. (Fiscal 2008 Homeland Security appropriations), Forbes of Virginia amendment that would prevent the Homeland Security Department from allowing certain immigrants to stay inside the United States beyond the period initially granted/On agreeing to the amendment
house Roll Call 487     Jun 15, 2007
Progressive Position:
Nay
Progressive Result:
Win

This was a vote on an amendment by Randy Forbes, R-Va., that would prevent the Homeland Security Department from extending the duration of time immigrants from countries in crisis can remain in the U.S. without being deported.

The agency is able to grant “temporary protected status” (TPS) to immigrants from certain countries – particularly those experiencing a crisis, such as a hurricane – for 18 months. The agency may extend that status by adding another 18 months at its discretion. There is no cap on how many times the protected status may be extended. Forbes’ amendment would remove the agency’s ability to extend the protected status beyond its initial 18 months.

Forbes argued that some countries have had their status extended for decades, and that calling the protected status “temporary” is misguided. He also said many of the immigrants protected from deportation by this designation are in the U.S. illegally, and include violent gang members. Further, Forbes said the open-ended nature of the extensions has created “a de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants from certain Central American countries.” Forbes opposes proposals to provide illegal immigrants with “amnesty,” where instead of being prosecuted and deported for living in the United States illegally, they would be allowed to apply for green cards and, eventually, U.S. citizenship.

“TPS is being used to grant long-time residence, a perpetual amnesty, to illegal immigrants of certain favored nationalities. This amendment will return TPS to its original intent of providing temporary refuge during temporary periods of crisis,” Forbes said.

David Price, D-N.C., said he opposed the amendment in the “strongest possible terms” because it is designed to protect citizens of countries “with severe hardships: civil wars, massive natural disasters, humanitarian crises, some of those troubled places in the world where people are fleeing absolutely horrendous conditions.” Price said more than 4,000 people, from war-torn countries like the Sudan, could be deported if their temporary protected status were revoked.

Jose Serrano, D-N.Y., said immigrants with temporary protected status should not be viewed as illegal immigrants. “They’re here legally.  They’re here because this Congress, this administration and other administrations, have seen fit to give them this protection. They’re here because they can’t go back home,” Serrano said.

The House defeated the amendment, 298-123, a victory for Democrats, with some 79 Republicans taking their side.  Thus the bill  went forward without language removing the Homeland Security Department’s ability to indefinitely extend temporary protected status to certain immigrants.

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