A group of immigration activists from Hawaii took over a pair of offices this week at the U.S. Capitol belonging to anti-“amnesty” Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. The “Aloha DREAM Team,” a group pushing comprehensive reforms in immigration laws that include a pathway to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants, sat in the middle of floors, disrupted business and demanded support from Congress for President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration, the Washington Times reported. Staffers in Sessions’ office said the "occupy" protesters were loud enough Wednesday to disrupt telephone calls in and out of the office.
Sessions and Cruz recently voted with fellow Senate Republicans to withhold funding from the Department of Homeland Security to block Obama’s orders that defer deportation and extend work permits to an estimated 5 million undocumented immigrants. The states Sessions and Cruz represent are part of a lawsuit against the Obama administration seeking to stop the immigration actions before they take effect on Feb. 18. A federal judge in Texas is expected to rule soon on the suit filed by 26 states.
— Aloha DREAM Team (@alohadreamteam) February 11, 2015
— Fernando Pizarro (@FPizarro_DC) February 11, 2015
The Republicans have attempted at least three votes on a DHS funding bill that targets the immigration actions. But Democrats and the White House, which promised to veto anything but a simple DHS funding bill, say anti-immigration reform senators are risking the safety of Americans. Homeland Security, formed as a response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, contains 22 agencies charged with protecting public safety. In addition to enforcing immigration laws, DHS' mission is to patrol the country’s ports and borders, defend against and respond to terrorist attacks and manage federal responses to manmade and natural disasters.
The department will run out of money after Feb. 27, according to multiple reports, but it would continue its national security functions on an emergency basis. In a Cabinet meeting earlier this month, Obama warned that the agency’s front-line workers would be forced to work without pay.