(CNN) – A Republican-led effort to discard President Barack Obama's rule allowing some young undocumented immigrants to defer deportation passed the U.S. House Thursday, a further indication of the challenges still facing pending comprehensive immigration reform legislation.
This amendment, however, appears doomed to be a political gesture as the Senate remains Democrat-controlled and Obama serves out his second term.
The measure, which would cut funding to the Department of Homeland Security to implement the program, was approved by a vote of 224-201, mainly along party lines. It was sponsored by Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican who has long voiced opposition to any measures lessening the consequences of illegal immigration.
The president's decision, made last June, would allow people younger than 30 who came to the United States before the age of 16, pose no criminal or security threat, and were successful students or served in the military to apply for a two-year deferral from deportation.
This policy is a directive from the Department of Homeland Security, rather than an executive order from President Obama, though it could still be reversed by future presidents. Republicans have sometimes criticized Obama for issuing executive orders and using administrative directives, saying he's ignoring the Constitutional requirements of lawmaking by bypassing Congress.
Obama's measure does not extend legal status to children of undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States by their parents, which is the crux of the DREAM Act. Those children have become known as "dreamers" after the proposed law.
Lawmakers are currently engaged in a heated debate over revamping the nation's immigration system, including whether or not to grant legal status to undocumented immigrants currently living in the U.S.
King said Thursday the passage of his measure blocking Obama's deportation rule was a signal of further resistance to immigration reform in the House.
"My amendment blocks many of the provisions that are mirrored in the Senate's 'Gang of Eight' bill," King said. "If this position holds, no amnesty will reach the President's desk."
Jay Carney, Obama's press secretary, wrote in a statement the measure "runs contrary to our most deeply-held values as Americans."
"It asks law enforcement to treat these Dreamers the same way as they would violent criminals," Carney said. "It's wrong. It's not who we are. And it will not become law."