The U.S. House passed a bill to fund the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through the end of the fiscal year, September 30, 2015. The bill passed with little time to spare before March 6th, when the department’s current funding is set to expire.
The DHS was not funded when the rest of the government was funded in December because opposing lawmakers initially sought to withhold funding that could be used in the implementation of the President’s executive actions. At issue was the President’s expansion of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program and the announcement of a new Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA), program. These programs grant work authorization and exercise discretion not to remove (deport) undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents and persons who were brought to the United States unlawfully as children.
While the President is expected to sign the bill, and funding of the DHS will continue through the current budget term, implementation of the expanded DACA and the new DAPA program remain in limbo due to a federal court’s preliminary injunction forestalling implementation. The Federal Government has appealed the preliminary injunction, and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit could decide the appeal as early as today. If the injunction stands, it is possible that the expansion of DACA and the implementation of DAPA could be forestalled for months or even years, until a final decision is handed down in the lawsuit filed by 26 states to challenge the legality of these programs.