(Reuters) – When Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling sat down with colleagues and constituents at a recent Chamber of Commerce lunch in Dallas, the first question he faced was whether Congress planned to address immigration policy and a burgeoning border crisis.
“I’m supposed to do this in 30 seconds?” he joked, noting the issue’s complexity. While he was optimistic about long-term prospects for dealing with border security and immigration, he said, “between now and the end of this Congress, I’m a little less sanguine about it.”
It has been a question heard repeatedly by lawmakers this month in “town hall” district meetings punctuated – and sometimes dominated – by concerns and angry outbursts over immigration policy and the crisis caused by a flood of child migrants at the southwestern border in recent months.
Those summer town halls have provided lawmakers a first-hand glimpse of growing discontent among Americans over U.S. immigration policy. Seventy percent of Americans – including 86% of Republicans – believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll conducted in mid-July…