Funding for the U-S Department of Homeland Security runs out at the end of the month and a shut-down is looming unless House Republicans immediately pass clean legislation to keep it open, according to Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ).

Pallone said House Republicans have passed a bill that would continue funding the department through September, under the condition President Barack Obama's entire Immigration Reform Policy is removed.

Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, photo credit to CWO Bruszka
Coast Guard Training Center Cape May, photo credit to CWO Bruszka

"Dreamers could be deported and you've got ten or 12 million people that are here undocumented, that will all be subject to deportation and not be eligible to work and all the other changes the President has made over the last few years," said Pallone. "So essentially, the Homeland Security of the country is being held hostage to this dispute over Immigration."

Pallone said the debate on Immigration Reform should continue, but in the meantime The Homeland Security Department shouldn't be shut-down.

"That means functions like the Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Immigration, Customs, all these things end up shutting down because they all come under Homeland Security, and some of the people may work, but then they don't get paid," Pallone said.

Pallone visited the Sandy Hook Coast Guard Station in Long Branch Wednesday to highlight the critical resources at stake.

"The Coast Guard would be considered essential personnel, so they would have to come to work on March 1, but they wouldn't get paid," he said. "FEMA functions, Hurricane Preparedness, that would all shut-down."

Pallone estimates a shut-down would impact hundreds of thousands of federal workers, noting the Coast Guard alone makes up about 40,000 military personnel, not counting civilian personnel."

"If you're not deemed essential, you get furloughed and you don't know whether you're ever going to be paid at all," Pallone said.

In addition to being disruptive, Pallone said it jeopardizes the security of the country.

"The clean bill would basically say we're going to fund Homeland Security to the end of the fiscal year, which is September, and in the meantime we can continue to debate immigration," he said.

Pallone said when Congress returns to session, there may be a short-term appropriations spending bill to continue the Homeland Security functions for a few weeks.

"But again, that's not the real answer either," he added.

Congressman Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) refuted Pallone's claims and accused Senate Democrats of filibustering on the funding bill for Homeland Security.

MacArthur described the President's executive action on immigration an "overreach," in explaining the President's decision to grant amnesty for over 5-million people, provide them with federal benefits, and allow them to stay in the U-S.

"The federal court has agreed that the President acted illegally and I'm hopeful that will help. Now Senate Democrats may say, okay there's another mechanism for dealing with that, let's take up the Homeland Security Bill and do what we with it and send it back to the House," said MacArthur.

The Fiscal Times reports US District Judge Andrew Hanen blocked Mr. Obama’s executive action on immigration late Monday. The judge did not rule on the merits of the case. Rather, he determined that the state of Texas (and some 24 other states) has standing to sue the federal government over the so-called “amnesty” measure, since it “stands to suffer direct damages from the implementation of DAPA”, as the deferred action program is called.

MacArthur admitted naturalization is a responsibility that Congress has failed to fulfill.

"But, that doesn't give the President the right to say he doesn't like what we're doing, so he'll do it himself," said MacArthur.

MacArthur agreed with Pallone that funding needs to be approved to keep the Department of Homeland Security operating and he'd like to see it move forward.

MacArthur said if the Senate eliminates the immigration portions that the House included in the Homeland Security funding bill, he would vote for a "clean" funding bill.

"And I would fight in the House to have others do the same, and I'm hopeful that could get passed," added MacArthur.

MacArthur believes the President's Immigration Orders can be dealt with in the Supreme Court and through Congress passing its own legislation on Immigration.

"We should pass a comprehensive reform bill that includes a tough, but fair path to citizenship and additional protection of our southern and northern border. It should include Visa reforms," MacArthur said.

The shore Republican is a strong advocate for visa reform. He contends that about 40 percent of people who are in the United States illegally originally arrived legitimately, through visas, and overstayed.






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