DHS Funding Debate Starts: Main House Bill to Defund Immigration Orders Gets Jeff Sessions' Support

The bill cuts off funding for Obama's 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and would reinstate the Secure Communities program, stopped by Johnson in November, to remove criminal aliens.

Going back to last summer's flood of Central and South American immigrant minors, the bill amends the 2008 William Wilberforce Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act to treat those illegally crossing the border from non-contiguous countries the same as Mexican and Canadian minors.

"Previous actions invited the deadly surge at our Southern border this summer. We must restore the rule of law and right the wrongs this president has inflicted on the American people and our immigration system," Smith said. "His actions cannot go unanswered."

The companion bill introduced in the Senate today comes from Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), the new chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

"The bill takes important steps toward fixing rules that have been abused for too long, ensuring enforcement of our immigration laws, and eliminating the policies that led to the surge at our southern border last summer. While this bill doesn’t address all immigration problems, it is an important first step," Johnson said.

“I also look forward to Secretary Johnson’s response to fundamental questions about the president’s unilateral action, which was specifically designed to circumvent Congress’ role. Answers to these questions will inform my committee as it fulfills its constitutional role of oversight.”

The Rules Committee hasn't hashed out the bill yet, but Boehner said he "suspects" there will be room for amendments. In December, Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas) denied Rep. Mick Mulvaney's (R-S.C.) cromnibus amendment to defund the immigration executive actions, saying that they were running out of time and couldn't add anything "extraneous" to the spending bill.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced his own bill today, the "Defund Executive Amnesty Act."

"My bill defunds all of the president's illegal and unconstitutional actions regarding immigration,” said King. “Beginning with the Morton Memos and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), and covering all of his most recent illegal and unconstitutional acts to expand DACA to 5 million more illegal immigrants."

"To make sure President Obama doesn't attempt to find other ways to circumvent the Constitution, my bill also has a catch-all provision that bars any similar actions in the future and has language to make it clear illegal immigrants are not authorized to work in the United States. This preserves the Constitution, reinforces the separation of powers, and fulfills Republican promises to the American people in the 2014 election."