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House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul (R-Texas) said Friday that a border security bill will be one of the first actions of the new Congress.

McCaul said the legislation would be part of a "constructive" response to President Obama's actions on immigration that would avoid a government shutdown. 


"I think one of the first bills you’ll see out of the box in the new Congress will be my border security bill," McCaul said on Fox News. "Because until we get the security piece done, you really can’t talk intelligently about immigration reform as long as waves of illegals are coming in the country."

Republicans have been debating different responses to President Obama's announcement Thursday that he will act to shield five million immigrants in the country illegally from deportation.  

"We want to be constructive," McCaul said. "We want to keep the government open but we want to shut down this president."

He said he would work with House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob GoodlatteRobert (Bob) William GoodlatteFight breaks out between Jordan, Nadler over rules about showing video at Garland hearing The job of shielding journalists is not finished Bottom line MORE (R-Va.), and the new Republican Senate, to send a series of bills to Obama's desk. A border security measure was the only bill he mentioned specifically

"Let’s secure the border, enforce our immigration laws in the interior of the United States, and build a broad consensus for immigration reform," McCaul and Goodlatte wrote to Obama earlier this week, urging him not to act alone. 

Obama told Republicans in his speech on Thursday that if they object, they should "pass a bill." 

After Congress passes bills, McCaul said, "then it’s going to be up to him, he says he’s not the emperor of the United States, but we’ll see when we send these bills to his desk."

McCaul indicated other options being considered to stop Obama would not be overruled by the bill-passing approach. He said "there will be lawsuits," and that "we have the power of the purse."

He did not delve into the Republican debate over how best to use that spending power, after House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) said Thursday defunding Obama's actions is "impossible."