Border security needs to be the initial step in immigration reforms, Senate Republicans said Wednesday as they weigh options to thwart President Obama’s plans for executive action on deportation without risking a government shutdown.
“We have to do that first, then we’ll have the public support to take further measures,” Sen. Ron Johnson, Wisconsin Republican, told C-SPAN’s Washington Journal.
The senator insisted that no one is threatening to use the budget process to shut down the government to protest Mr. Obama’s plans for temporary amnesty for some illegal immigrants, knowing that a shutdown in fall 2013 reflected poorly on the party.
Instead, Mr. Johnson said they can eliminate funds for Mr. Obama’s anti-deportation plans.
“We can very narrowly focus a defund effort on just those specific efforts,” he said.
Mr. Obama has threatened to act on his own because he feels House Republicans have had enough time to act on a comprehensive Senate bill forged by members of both parties.
Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio Republican, said the problem with the Senate bill is that it did not go far enough in enforcing immigration laws, even though some argue the bill could have passed in the House if Speaker John A. Boehner really wanted it to.
Mr. Portman said he was not sure whether it would pass in the new House, a nod to Republicans’ augmented majority in the House come January.
“It probably would in the old House,” he told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”