Funding for the Department of Homeland Security will lapse in the coming weeks unless Congressional Republicans agree to pass a clean funding bill.
Congressional Republicans did not want to risk a department shutdown during the previous session of Congress so they passed a bill that would fund the department through this month. This month has finally arrived and Republicans in Congress have now tied funding for the department to a repeal of not just the president's recent executive orders on immigration but also his deferred action program for DREAMers.
The great irony is the Republican party, which is known for demanding strict adherence and enforcement of immigration law, is threatening the paychecks of tens of thousands of Border Control agents and other personnel whose job is to enforce the law.
According to the administration, some 40,000 Border Patrol agents and 50,000 Transportation Security Administration security screeners would be forced to work without pay if lawmakers were unable to pass funding. An additional 13,000 Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and officers; 4,000 Secret Service workers; and 40,000 members of the Coast Guard would also go without pay.
For their part, Congressional Republicans have implied or outright said that a department shutdown would be no big deal because agents and officers will continue working without a paycheck.
As we all know, federal agents are not real people with real families and real bills to pay. They also don't need to eat. They may be cyborgs.
The impending arrival of the House GOP's next lawsuit against the president may be the backup plan to placate immigration hawks while passing a clean funding bill, but it remains to be seen. It's also possible that we will see another temporary extension of DHS funding.
Even I wouldn't guess the GOP is this reckless, but it's also possible that we will see a department shutdown.
Anything is possible while the Republican party's immigration policy is effectively in the hands of Steve King.