This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Washington • Utah's four Republican House members on Wednesday supported a GOP-led effort to cripple President Barack Obama's executive orders protecting hundreds of thousands of immigrants while also extending funding for the Department of Homeland Security through the rest of the fiscal year.
In a 236-191 vote, the House approved the measure that would keep the federal department running past a Feb. 27 funding cutoff but attached provisions to the bill that would prohibit the government from spending money to continue Obama's deferred-deportation program and block Immigration and Customs Enforcement from closing cases for immigrants placed on a low priority for removal from the United States.
"The president's unilateral action basically expands the power of the executive branch, and encroaches on individual liberty," said newly minted Rep. Mia Love, R-Utah, in a statement. "That's not acceptable."
Love was joined in supporting the bill by Utah Reps. Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart.
Chaffetz said in a statement that his vote was meant to show Obama that Congress "will not stand by and cede the constitutional authority entrusted to us."
"His executive amnesty betrays the American people by circumventing the Constitution we in Congress have sworn to uphold," Chaffetz said.
Obama signed a series of executive orders in November, shortly after the mid-term elections handed Republicans control of the Senate and the House. The orders would halt deportations for a large portion of immigrants who are in the United States without documentation.
A study by the Migration Policy Institute found a higher percentage of undocumented immigrants in Utah could benefit from those presidential orders than in any other state.
The report estimated that 55 percent of the undocumented population in Utah could be shielded from deportation through the action, or about 48,000 people.
The next highest were Oregon, 52 percent; Texas, 51 percent; and California and Illinois, both 50 percent, according to the study.
Obama has threatened to veto the GOP legislation but it's unclear yet whether the measure can make it through the Senate where Republicans hold a majority but not enough seats to overcome procedural hurdles.