House Republicans yesterday advanced the first step of their response to President Obama’s recently announced immigration reform plan, passing legislation in a 219-197 vote that would block the White House from deferring the deportations of undocumented immigrants, according to Bloomberg News. Three House Democrats crossed the aisle to vote in favor of the legislation–John Barrow (GA), Douglas McIntyre (NC), and Collin Peterson (MN).

The measure was sponsored by Rep. Ted Yoho (R-FL) and would prohibit the president from using executive action to accomplish his plan to allow up to 5 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country temporarily. The largely symbolic measure is not expected to be brought to the floor for a vote in the Democrat-controlled Senate. The legislation is the first step in a strategy that House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters will be followed by a vote on an omnibus appropriations measure to fund most of the government through the rest of the fiscal year.

The measure is likely to provide only a short-term appropriation for the Homeland Security Department (DHS), the agency tasked with carrying out Obama’s immigration reform plan. That would allow Republicans to make further DHS funding contingent on the White House scrapping the plan after the party takes control of both chambers of Congress in January.

Obama announced November 20 that he would take a variety of executive actions to protect millions of undocumented immigrants from deportation . Chief among the actions would be removing the age cap for eligibility under the deferred action for childhood arrivals program, which protects certain undocumented immigrants who came to the country as children and have served in the military or pursued higher education. The White House also said it would move to allow undocumented parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have been in the United States at least five years and who agree to pay taxes and pass a criminal background check to remain in the country.

The measure would bar the executive branch from using executive orders, regulations or other actions to defer the deportation of undocumented immigrants. It would be effective retroactively to encompass the president’s latest reform efforts. The bill is the most recent effort by Republicans to highlight what they generally say is an unconstitutional power grab by the President, whom they accuse of changing the immigration laws on the books with a stroke of the pen. It is also intended as a potential appeasement of a segment of Republicans who would like to see Congress hold up federal government funding, slated to run out December 11, until the issue is resolved.

House Speaker Boehner said the House will likely vote on the omnibus and DHS funding legislation next week. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) told reporters that he would consider the measures if they are passed by the House.