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Immigration Disputes Threaten to Shutdown Department of Homeland Security

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are currently in dispute over immigration reforms included on a bill deciding the budget for the Department of Homeland Security. If a decision is not made on the DHS’s budget by this Friday, then the department will face a shutdown, similar to the government shutdown in 2013.

While the 2013 shutdown was over Obamacare disputes, this dilemma is regarding President Obama’s executive action on immigration. President Obama’s action would stop around five million undocumented immigrants from being deported – something most Republicans strongly disagree with.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate has agreed to vote on a “clean” bill for Homeland Security funding, with a separate bill addressing President’s Obama’s immigration decision. However, Democrats in the Senate want to know that Speaker of the House John Boehner will get support for it from the House or they will not agree to it.

Boehner said, “The House has passed a bill to fund the department; it’s time for the Senate to do their job.”

The Democrats have blocked the current bill for Homeland Security funding four times already this month, avoiding altering Obama’s immigration plans, says NPR.

McConnell said he would be in favor of the legislation that the House has passed, because “it’s the simplest way forward. But as long as Democrats continue to prevent us from even debating that bill, I’m ready to try another way.”

If the DHS were to shutdown, there would not be any major short-term effects, but there would be long-term effects. According to NBC, eighty-five percent of the agencies’ workers would remain employed.

According to the Secretary of Homeland Security, people might be able to notice delays at airports, but the major issue will be that workers will continue to work without getting paid until an agreement is made.

Agencies like the secret service will not receive the money they need and states will not receive the money that the DHS gives them to keep order, said NBC. Also many Federal Emergency Managements Agency workers would be out of work for a while.

The Senate voted 98-2 on Wednesday to start debate on the bill, with only a few more days to act.

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