- The Washington Times - Friday, January 9, 2015

The House GOP’s new homeland security spending bill released Friday would require the Obama administration to name-and-shame so-called sanctuary city jurisdictions that refuse to hold illegal immigrants for federal authorities to deport.

The get-tough bill boosts funding for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement by 10 percent, signaling the desire by the House GOP to pressure President Obama to step up, rather than cut, enforcement against illegal immigrants.

Still, the bill does not explicitly halt President Obama’s deportation amnesty. Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, California Republican, said lawmakers will have a chance to amend the bill to try to halt the amnesty next week, when the bill reaches the House floor.

“We will also consider a series of amendments which respond to the president’s executive action,” Mr. McCarthy said on the House floor.

The spending bill is designed to fund the Homeland Security Department for the rest of fiscal year 2015. The department is currently operating on a short-term bill that expires on Feb. 27.

Funding for airport security, the Coast Guard, cybersecurity, the Secret Service and a host of other operations is included, but most of the attention will go to immigration, because of the battle with Mr. Obama over his new policy to grant amnesty from deportation to 4 million more illegal immigrants.

The spending bill requires the Homeland Security Department to continue holding an average of 34,000 illegal immigrants a day, rejecting the administration’s plea that it be allowed to release more of them into society with the hope they’ll return for their deportation hearings.

Nearly 4,000 of those beds are in facilities designed to hold families — a way of trying to halt the flood of parents with children, who surged into the U.S. last summer and were released into the communities rather than held. The Obama administration admitted it was unprepared for the surge, and didn’t have the bed capacity to hold the illegal immigrants.

Republicans have been critical of Mr. Obama’s enforcement efforts overall, including saying he has allowed some states and localities — so-called “sanctuary cities” — to refuse to cooperate with immigration authorities.

The sanctuary cities refuse to hold illegal immigrants that the government says it wants to deport, instead releasing them before authorities can pick them up. Homeland Security officials said that makes their job much tougher and far more expensive, and was one significant reason why the department has seen a 20 percent drop in deportations over the last two years.

Under the new bill, the department would have to publicly name sanctuary cities and states.

“ICE is directed to publish on its website the list of jurisdictions failing to honor ICE detainers and to include details on individuals released as a result of these decisions,” the House said in a report accompanying its bill.

Democrats have complained that challenging Mr. Obama’s amnesty could jeopardize funding for the Homeland Security Department.

“Rather than building upon the president’s bold move to keep families together, House Republicans have decided to threaten a partial government shutdown and play politics with the security of our homeland by appeasing the anti-immigrant and extreme right-wing of their party,” said Drew Hammill, spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. “As the risk of terrorism rises, this perilous Republican tactic sends the worst possible message at a very dangerous time.”

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