GOP’s Strategy Will Harm National Security
Although a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security may not be such a big deal, because critical programs and personnel would have to keep working even if they are not getting paid, it would be an international PR disaster for the United States legislature to refuse to fund its largest security department next to the Department of Defense.
Threat of a DHS shutdown is the tactic being employed by anti-immigration restrictionists on the right. They are refusing to pass a bill funding DHS unless the President agrees to drop his immigration policies that prioritize the deportation of criminals over families.
What’s ironic, is one set of DHS personnel that would keep working—and collecting paychecks—are the employees who process immigration and other visa applications at USCIS. This includes Obama’s deferred action programs that are the supposed target of this restrictionist strategy. These functions are funded by the “user”—i.e. immigrants—not U.S. taxpayers, so they would keep going even while other agencies operate with diminished capacity or worse.
So let’s get this straight: immigration opponents are pursuing a strategy that could shut down enforcement program in the Department of Homeland Security, and force thousands of people responsible for protecting our country from terrorism to work without pay.