This was a vote on an amendment by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) that would increase funding by $1 million for a program that helps local governments identify undocumented immigrants. The amendment would also cut $1 million from the Secretary of Homeland Security’s administrative expenses account. This amendment was offered to legislation providing annual funding for Homeland Security Department programs.
Royce urged support for his amendment: “…This amendment, will provide for better enforcement of our immigration laws….[The program] has been very successful. It allows state and local law enforcement agencies to cooperate with the Department of Homeland Security to enforce immigration law. It was enacted back in 1996, and Congress implemented this program to give local communities help with illegal immigration in their area….One of the reasons so many cities want to be involved in this [program] is because criminal alien gangs generally victimize people in the cities, often are victimizing other immigrants, often victimize legal immigrants. And, frankly, law enforcement should be trained in how to identify and remove criminal aliens, and this assists in that.”
Rep. David Price (D-NC) opposed the amendment: “The bill before us provides full funding for the Department's request for the…program, and $1 million more simply is not needed. The increase proposed by the gentleman comes at the expense of the Secretary for Homeland Security… Further cuts in these accounts would eliminate key staffing positions, limiting the Department's ability to respond to national emergencies and to provide for stable leadership in the event of a large disaster or a terrorist attack.”
The House agreed to this amendment by a vote of 268-151. Voting “yea” were 232 Republicans and 36 Democrats. 150 Democrats—including a majority of progressives—and 1 Republican voted “nay.” As a result, the House agreed to an amendment that would increase funding for Immigration and Customs Enforcement by $1 million in order to help local government identify undocumented immigrants. In order for this amendment to become law, however, it would need to pass the Senate as well. Since the Senate had not passed this amendment, funding for the immigration enforcement program remained unchanged for the time being.