The House of U.S. Congress on Wednesday adopted an amendment to freeze a 2012 program allowing illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children to apply for work permits.
Passage fell largely along party lines by a vote of 218 to 209. But 26 Republicans, many of whom represent districts with large minority populations, voted against the amendment.
Adoption of the amendment onto a nearly 40 billion dollars base funding bill for U.S. Homeland Security Department makes it unlikely to pass in the Senate, where it will need 60 votes to approve.
The amendment would prohibit funds for new or renewed applications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
Under the program, immigrants who came to the country as children can delay deportations for three years at a time. Those immigrants must have arrived in the country before the age of 16 and have lived in the U.S. since June 2007. They are also required to either be in school or have graduated.
The House passed a similar legislation in August last year to roll back the DACA program. Eleven Republicans, 10 of whom are still House members in the 114th Congress, voted against the measure three months before the midterm elections.
Republicans argued the DACA program has misled children from Central America to make a dangerous trek across the southern U.S.- Mexico border area with the hopes of being able to immigrate to the U.S. illegally.
On Wednesday, the House also adopted an amendment by a vote of 237 to 190, to defund U.S. President Barack Obama's executive action last November to expand the DACA program and delay deportations of up to 5 million illegal immigrants in the country. Enditem