can block use of fees for immigration overhaul: memo
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[December 01, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congress can
block President Barack Obama from using federal immigration fees to
issue permits for millions of undocumented immigrants to stay and work
in the United States, according to a congressional research memo
released on Wednesday.
The memo from the non-partisan Congressional Research Service to
Republican Senator Jeff Sessions could provide a boost to him and
other conservatives who are pushing for a December budget
confrontation with Obama to try to stop his executive order
overhauling the U.S. immigration system.
A plan to deny such funds in a must-pass federal spending bill next
month, as part of a Republican effort to fight Obama's immigration
move, could heighten the risk of another government shutdown.
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, a more moderate
Republican, has argued against such a strategy, pushing instead for
a spending bill that fully funds government agencies through
September 2015. He has said that simply "defunding" immigration
agencies would have little effect because the primary agency that
would process the applications could still operate on the fees it
But the Congressional Research Service said lawmakers could halt
operations of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services agency
by including language explicitly prohibiting the use of funds by a
specific agency for a specific purpose.
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"If a statute were enacted which prohibited appropriated funds from
being used for some specified purposes, then the relevant funds
would be unavailable to be obligated or expended for those
purposes," the research service said in the memo.
It went on to say that such legislative language would also apply to
funds collected through fees but noted that courts could have
(Reporting by David Lawder; Editing by Tom Brown)
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