Here’s what’s planned on immigration by Republicans in the new Congress:

The House plans to vote next week on legislation that would defund President Obama’s executive action on immigration.

Republicans also plan to include language rolling back a 2012 order from the Obama administration that gave legal status to illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.

The two measures would be considered as part of a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security through September. An earlier government-funding measure approved last month only funded that agency through February…

Mulvaney said Republicans debated in their closed-door meeting whether to focus solely on Obama’s move to shield illegal immigrants from deportation, or whether to attack the president’s policies on multiple fronts.

Some more moderate, swing-district Republicans “wanted the rifle shot, … maybe didn’t want to muddy the waters,” Mulvaney said. “But there were other voices in the room who said they wanted a chance to get at DACA, to get at the Morton memos” that relaxed some immigration laws in 2011.

Apparently the latter group won—for now.

However, there’s always the Senate:

Even if the funding bill passed in the House, it’s unclear whether Senate Republicans would be able to muster the 60 votes needed to overcome a likely Democratic filibuster.

And of course the White House:

The White House has repeatedly said President Obama wouldn’t sign a spending bill for DHS that undermines his executive actions, and Democrats quickly went on the attack.

The first step is Republican unity, and that seems to be in place. But it’s only the first step. Unfortunately, the Republicans don’t have the numbers to overcome a filibuster or a veto, so they need to either enlist enough Democrats to make a difference (good luck with that), or do something more “creative,” perhaps involving changes in the filibuster rule? Either way, they also must be prepared to have a showdown over a possible government shutdown.

The election of 2014 was merely the beginning of a fight that will be long and hard, and will require much intestinal fortitude on the part of Congressional Republicans. I have no idea whether they have the stomach for it, but I fear they don’t.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]


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