Legendary conservative activist Richard Viguerie is imploring Republican leaders in Congress to do whatever is necessary – including impeachment or refusing to fund parts of the government – to stop President Obama’s plan to unilaterally legalize up to six million illegal immigrants through executive action.

Viguerie pioneered the use of direct mail in political campaigning in the 1960s and 1970s. He is now the chairman of ConservativeHQ.com. His most recent book is “Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and how Conservatives Can Finally Win It.”

Reports this week suggest the president is planning to grant legal status to the parents of children who are U.S. citizens or already have legal status. Viguerie is among a large consensus on the right that the president’s actions would be unconstitutional, but there is great divide on what the Republican response ought to be. For Viguerie, stopping what he considers amnesty means using every tool in constitutional toolbox.

“The Republicans should use all means available to oppose this effort, including impeachment as well as shutting down the government, if that’s what it takes to protect our form of government,” Viguerie said. “We can’t allow Obama to become a dictator.”

He added, “A failure to use all legal means to oppose his illegal amnesty efforts that’s being rumored about here would be a sign of serious sign of weakness on the Republican leaders’ part. And it would embolden the Democrats to continue to act outside of the Constitution.”

Listen to the WND/Radio America interview with Richard Viguerie:

Last week, both House Speaker John Boehner and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell lashed out at Obama’s plans to legalize millions of people through executive action. McConnell likened it to waving a red flag in front of a bull. Boehner said Obama was playing with matches and was bound to get burned. Both leaders shied away from the defunding strategy, however, leaving Viguerie wondering how committed they are to stopping it.

“The Republican leaders pretty much have always talked a tough game, but the Democrats have always been able to roll them,” he said. “I don’t think we’re expecting much more than just more talk from the Republican leaders.”

Both of Viguerie’s suggestions carry risks, as Republicans leaders and rank-and-file members have stated. Impeachment could easily be seized by Democrats characterizing Republicans as wanting to gain power for no other reason than to try to remove Obama from office. It’s an argument the GOP fears could play effectively to the Democratic Party base.

Similarly, they see the threat of a government shutdown as a public-relations nightmare that cost the party greatly in the mid 1990s and again last year until the horrific roll-out of Obamacare overshadowed the controversy. GOP leaders believe another shutdown would turn popular opinion back in favor of the president, meaning the amnesty would eventually remain intact and Republicans would get slaughtered in 2016.

Viguerie isn’t buying any of it.

“That is a patently nonsensical argument because the government was shut down for 16 days last year and it had zero effect on the election results. What had an effect on the big election victory the Republicans had last week was opposing amnesty,” he said. “The voters gave the Republicans a big victory, expecting them to provide leadership and stop Obama.”

Viguerie added, “Republican leaders, if they take impeachment off the table and shutting down the government off the table, they are left toothless and will have defanged themselves and given Obama free reign to not only grant amnesty but pretty much anything else he wants.”

One option mentioned by Boehner is to take the president to court to challenge the constitutionality of his actions. Viguerie is not impressed.

“And will you send a strongly worded letter also? That’s weak and toothless,” he said.

In addition, Viguerie believes confrontational Republican action would trigger strong public support and maybe even some help from Democrats.

“A lot of Democrats will support this action too because this is now threatening our form of government,” he said.

However, Viguerie ultimately expects Obama to tone down his actions and Republicans to let him do it.

“I expect the president will probably do something less than what he has indicated he will do, and the Republican response will be a lot more rhetoric and less action,” he said.

If that happens, Viguerie expects this to badly inflame tensions between conservatives and Republican Party leaders.

“Lincoln told us, the Bible tells us, a house divided cannot stand,” he said. “Right now, we have a major divide between the supporters at the grassroots of the Republican Party and the Republican leaders in Washington. This is just going to make the situation worse.”

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