(CNSNews.com) - After repeatedly insisting that he could not bypass Congress and change immigration laws on his own, President Obama now believes he has found a way to do just that. And Republicans, including Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Ted Cruz of Texas, are prepared to challenge him:
"We are unfortunately witnessing a constitutional crisis. What President Obama's doing is he is defying the law, he's defying the Constitution," Cruz told Fox News's Megyn Kelly Wednesday night.
"This is a moment of testing," he added. "And I am hopeful we will see Republicans in Congress stand up and side with the people against the lawless president."
Sen. Rand Paul said he wants immigration reform: "But the president can't do this. This goes against the fundamental separation of powers that we have in our country."
Cruz said he has a two-part plan to counter the president that does not include a government shutdown:
"Let me be absolutely clear: there is no Republican, not one, who wants a government shutdown. The only person on this planet who wants a government shutdown is President Obama. What I think Congress should do is we should use the constitutional authority that we're given as checks and balances to rein in a despotic executives."
Cruz said the first step is for the new Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to "stand up and say, if you disregard the Constitution, if you disregard the law, if you issue this executive amnesty, the new Congress for the next two years will not confirm a single nomination, judicial or executive, other than vital national security positions until you end this illegal amnesty."
Cruz called the refusal to confirm presidential nominees a "dramatic step" that's never been done before.
Step number two is the power of the purse, which Cruz described as "the most potent power Congress has."
"When we come back in January with a new Congress, we need to systematically pass appropriations legislation funding the Department of Defense, funding the V.A., funding one department after another after another, and then once the vital functions are funded, we need to pass appropriations with riders specifically limiting the power of the Congress and the power of the president to spend money on illegal amnesty."
Such a rider should be attached to a bill funding the Department of Homeland Security, he said, even though President Obama would never sign such a bill. He would "jump up and down, scream, 'Shutdown! Shutdown! Shutdown!'" Cruz said.
"If the president wants to veto it, he can shut down DHS. That would be a wrong and irresponsible response. But listen, a presidential temper tantrum is not a rational response.
"What the Constitution requires, if you want to change immigration law -- and I think we need common sense immigration reform -- the way to do it is the president has to work with Congress. You have to compromise. You have to reach a middle ground. This president doesn't want to do that."
According to Sen. Rand Paul, President Obama has said 22 times previously that he doesn't have the power to change immigration law on his own.
"I think he has absolutely no right through executive order to write new immigration law. So I am very much opposed to it. I'm open to some form of immigration reform. I'm open to expanding work visas. I'm open to a lot of ideas. But the president can't do this. This goes against the fundamental separation of powers that we have in our country."
Paul said he will urged the House of Representatives to immediately pass a resolution saying that Obama's executive action is "contrary to the will" of the House.
"That would set up, I think, a very clear-cut case in the (Supreme) Court. And it may take a while to get him. But the thing is, history will treat him unkindly on this if he thinks he can become king."
Paul said he supports legislation security the border first and he also favors expanding a visa program for high-skilled workers. He said he's all for passing those bills first thing in January.