The White House on Monday threatened to veto Republican efforts to tie their fight against President Barack Obama's executive actions on immigration to funding for the Department of Homeland Security.
House Republicans are currently mulling a $39.7 billion deal to bankroll the department through Sept. 30, while including language that would effectively unravel the president's major efforts to address immigration issues in lieu of comprehensive reform from Congress.
And though it made clear that the Obama administration supported legislation to keep the department running, a statement issued Monday by the Office of Management and Budget said it "strongly opposes" language that would dismantle the looming measures, which would provide work permits and deportation relief to nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants.
“The president's immigration accountability executive actions strengthen our border security, ensure undocumented immigrants who are parents of U.S. citizens or lawful permanent residents pass background checks to obtain temporary relief from removal, and require everyone to play by the same rules,” the statement read.
"If presented to the president with objectionable restrictions, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto this bill," it continued.
The Department of Homeland Security could be forced to shut down if a deal is not reached by Feb. 27, which could ultimately affect a number of agencies tasked with protecting U.S. borders and maintaining national security. Earlier in the day, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called on Congress to keep the department open in a plan that would be “unburdened by any restrictions on our ability to pursue executive actions to fix our broken immigration system.”
The Republican strategy so far has been to chip away at not just the unilateral action unveiled in November, but also at benefits from a 2012 program that provides temporary relief to undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, known as DREAMers.
House Republicans appear poised to pass the measure this week, including language to gut implementation of the president's executive actions. The legislation's prospects in the Senate, however, remain slim; it is unlikely that Republicans will reach the 60 votes needed to pass the bill.