The unanimous fury from the political right over President Obama’s decision to use executive action to enact immigration reform and bypass Congress has sowed the seeds for a big change within the infamous Tea Party. The Tea Party started half a decade ago as a group of conservatives that wanted to reduce the deficit, challenge the wing of the Republican party that was in bed with Wall Street, and curtail the ever-growing reach of the federal government.
Now, however, the activists, politicians and intellectuals constituting the Tea Party have decided to divert their attention away from small government and fiscal austerity and throw all their energy into putting a stop to any immigration reform that would benefit undocumented immigrants.
The Tea Party Tribune declared that the president’s decision to enact immigration reform through his executive powers constituted “amnesty for millions, tyranny for all” after it was announced that around five million undocumented immigrants would be protected from the threat of deportation under the planned changes. Activists are already targeting members of Congress and in December a group of sheriffs intends to stage a demonstration at the Capitol.
Most ambitiously, however, the Tea Party is planning to run challengers against any high-profile Republicans that they believe are traitors to their cause. They were successful in toppling the former House majority leader Eric Cantor earlier in the year and are now intending to take on other immigration overhaul proponents, such as Senator John McCain.