US & Canada

US security funding approved without immigration rollback

Department of Homeland Security Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Funding for the department has been at issue since the new congress began in January

The US House of Representatives has approved a so-called "clean" funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday.

The bill does not include language that would roll back President Barack Obama's recent immigration reforms.

The vote ends an impasse between the White House and conservative Republicans over the reforms, that nearly shut the department last week.

The bill passed 257 to 167 with 74 Republicans supporting the measure.

Passage of the bill marks the end of the Republican's strategy to use funding for the department as a bargaining chip in the debate over immigration, and a political victory for the White House.

"There might be a Republican majority in both houses of Congress - but that doesn't mean the president has to bend to their will. In this arm wrestle, the president seems to have come out on top," the BBC's North America Editor Jon Sopel said.

The issue has created a rift in the Republican Party and has threatened Mr Boehner's position as the leader of the House.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Boehner has struggled over the past few weeks to unify his party on the bill

In recent weeks, conservative Republicans had pushed to include language that would permanently halt immigration reforms announced by the White House in November.

Mr Obama, citing a lack of co-operation from Congress on the issue of immigration, said he would use his executive authorities to protect millions of immigrants from deportation.

"I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of of this president," Mr Boehner is said to have told fellow Republicans when he announced the vote.

Funding for the department has been the subject of controversy since the newly Republican-controlled Congress sat in January.

A partial shutdown of the department was averted last Friday when Congress passed a one-week funding bill in a rare late-night vote.

The Department of Homeland Security is responsible for securing US borders, airports and coastal waters.

A court recently put a temporary halt on part of the president's immigration reforms. The Department of Justice is seeking a stay of that decision.

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