There are several reasons why Republican leaders don’t want President Obama to use unilateral executive action to legalize millions of illegal immigrants. First, House and Senate GOP leaders oppose bypassing Congress on principle. Second, they disagree with the policy. And third — perhaps most importantly — they know voters want lawmakers to focus on the economy.
The president has other ideas — again. Back in 2009 and 2010, voters virtually pleaded with Obama and fellow Democrats to focus exclusively on jobs and economic growth. Instead, Obama devoted a year to passing, on a strict party-line basis, his party’s national healthcare scheme. It’s still unpopular.
Now voters have sent a similar message: Stay on the economy. But Obama is determined to have his way on immigration.
That’s not what voters want right now. Exit polls from last week’s midterms show a deep and continuing economic anxiety still at the top of the public’s concerns.