A November 2014 Gallup poll listed the top three “most important problem(s) facing this country” as the “economy in general,” “dissatisfaction with government” and “immigration/illegal aliens.”

Immigration encompasses all three. And while we speculate on what to expect from the 114th Congress, which took its oath of office Jan. 6, it can be useful to review recent immigration initiatives.

This issue has been festering in the U.S. Congress since a comprehensive immigration reform bill was rejected by the U.S. Senate back in 2007. A 2013 bill that passed the U.S. Senate, S.744, was never taken up by the U.S. House of Representatives — Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King both voted for S.744.

Meanwhile, the U.S. House adopted a piecemeal approach and passed four bills out of its Judiciary Committee in 2013; the House Homeland Security Committee passed a bill that was a near duplicate of the U.S. Senate bill.

None of the House bills went to the floor for a vote.

The president took unilateral action starting in 2012 with executive actions that deferred from deportation close to 500,000 illegal aliens who were brought here as children; more recently, he expanded on this by announcing the deferral from deportation of what could be nearly 5 million illegal aliens.

The process includes some important details.

You may remember the House Republicans were criticized for not taking up the Senate bill. What you may not have been told was that the bill was never sent to the U.S. House for consideration. The reason? It would have been “blue slipped.” The U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 7 states, “All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” S.744 contained spending measures, so Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, threatened to “blue slip” the bill, by which it would have been rejected because it contained tax measures, the prerogative of the U.S. House.

You may also know that, as a result of the 2014 election, the Republicans now have a 54-to-46 majority in the U.S. Senate. Even with the majority, they will need 60 votes for “cloture,” a procedure that stops debate so an up-or-down vote can be taken on the bill. Republicans will have to pick up six votes from the 44 Democrats and two independents, one of whom is Sen. King, to advance their legislation.

On Jan. 14, 2015, the House voted for a series of amendments that would roll back practically all of President Barack Obama’s executive amnesties.

Newly elected 2nd District Rep. Bruce Poliquin, whose campaign comments included strong support for immigration enforcement, voted for the two measures.

So far, so good, Bruce.

These measures now will be sent to the U.S. Senate where their reception is uncertain.

Collins, in an email to the writer Oct. 6, 2014, indicated she was against “amnesty” but then voted against a “point of order” by Sen. Ted Cruz on Dec. 13, 2014, which would have denied “DHS funding that the President has announced will be spent unconstitutionally (for deferral of deportation).” The best King could do was to state in a Sept. 25, 2014, email, “I too am very concerned about the President acting unilaterally through executive orders.” All fluff, no substance.

Waiting in the shadows is President Obama, who has threatened to veto any bills that undo his executive action amnesties. An Associated Press report had this comment: “Obama would veto the proposal [the House bill] if it arrived on his desk as it was passed.”

The amendments passed by the House are part of a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). DHS funding expires Feb. 27 of this year, so look for some fireworks as this legislation continues on its path through the federal mix-master.

Bob Casimiro of Bridgton is former executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Immigration Reform and an original member of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. He has been to the southern border six times.