U.S. Rep. Tony CardenasWASHINGTON, D.C. /California Newswire/ — Today, a bipartisan group of 17 California Representatives fought to protect young people, brought to this country through no fault of their own, who are working to make America a better place. U.S. Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) led the effort to protect “DREAMers” from a piece of extreme anti-immigrant legislation embedded in a recent Homeland Security funding bill.

U.S. Representatives from both sides of the aisle wrote to California’s senators, Sens. Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, calling on them to remove the offending legislation from the eventual Senate version of that funding bill, before it reached President Obama’s desk.

The anti-immigrant legislation was an amendment, authored by U.S. Rep. Steve King of Iowa, in the House-passed Department of Homeland Security Appropriations Act.

If included in the final bill, King’s amendment would prevent prosecutorial discretion. The Justice Department and law enforcement would be required, by law, to use the same level of funding and effort to chase down and apprehend college students and the undocumented husbands and wives of our troops as they do fighting rapists, murderers, drug dealers and other violent criminals.

The letter reads, in part, “[T]he American people have continued to reject the mass deportations of low-priority immigrants and DREAMers who were raised in this country and are American in all senses but a piece of paper. “

“Protecting our nation is not a partisan issue,” said Cárdenas. “Democrats and Republicans agree that dividing tax dollars, between arresting hardened criminals seeking to harm our people and chasing down DREAMers, is simply unacceptable.

“DREAMers exist in the shadows of our nation, but have fought for their American Dream. That fight didn’t lead them to drugs and violence, it led them to strive educationally, to fight for our nation and to build families on our shores. Californians can be proud that we have joined as Republicans and Democrats to encourage our Senators to use tax dollars to protect Americans from those who would do us harm, not to attack students and families who want so badly to follow in our footsteps.”

Should legislation containing the King amendment reach the President’s desk, it would prohibit the use of Immigration and Customs Enforcement funds to implement President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program or prioritize dangerous criminals for deportation rather than targeting immigrants who are working and raising their families.

The King amendment passed along mostly party lines, 224-201. However, six Republicans voted against it.

The letter to Sens. Boxer and Feinstein was signed by Reps. Tony Cárdenas, Xavier Becerra, Grace F. Napolitano, Janice Hahn, Judy Chu, Loretta Sanchez, Julia Brownley, Juan Vargas, Ami Bera, Sam Farr, Raul Ruiz, Brad Sherman, Scott H. Peters, Michael M. Honda, Karen Bass, Adam B. Schiff and David G. Valadao.