LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas — All of Arkansas' U.S. House delegation voted for Republican-backed legislation that would send migrant youths home without hearings.
The legislation could lead to the deportation of more than a half-million immigrants who were granted temporary work permits by President Barack Obama's administration under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA. However, the legislation is unlikely to pass the Democratic-controlled U.S. Senate.
The U.S. House passed the bills late Friday largely along party lines, with Arkansas Republican Reps. Tom Cotton, Steve Womack, Rick Crawford and Tim Griffin voting for them.
The votes came on what was to have been the first day of lawmakers' five-week summer recess. Senators had already left Washington after killing their own legislation on the issue.
Griffin said the legislation improves existing law and provides funding to increase the presence of the National Guard along the border.
The bill "implements essential policy changes to effectively address the recent influx of unaccompanied minors to our border and expedite their return to their home countries," Griffin said in a statement. "Further, combined with the House-passed bill to prohibit the expansion of DACA and ensure enforcement of our current laws, today's bills will deter others from attempting the perilous journey to our border, preventing loss of life and future crises."
The spending measure would provide $694 million, far short of the $3.7 billion that Obama initially requested. It passed 223-189 with only four Republicans voting "no" and one Democrat voting "yes."
The measure to end Obama's deportation relief program passed 216-192, with 11 Republican "no" votes and four Democrats crossing party lines to vote in favor.