House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) says immigration reform is not dead,… (J. Scott Applewhite / Associated…)
WASHINGTON -- Speaker John A. Boehner says he still wants to see an overhaul of the immigration laws, but he declined to say when the House would address the issue.
“Is immigration reform dead? Absolutely not,” the Ohio Republican said at a news conference Thursday. “I have made clear, going back to the day after the last election in 2012, that it was time for Congress to deal with this issue. I believe that Congress needs to deal with this issue.”
The Senate’s sweeping bipartisan immigration bill has essentially died in the Republican-controlled House. The GOP remains divided over providing a path to citizenship for immigrants who are in the country without legal status.
Advocates for immigrants have targeted Republican leaders to force a vote before Congress adjourns for Thanksgiving. Immigrants tried to deliver turkeys to GOP leaders on Thursday. Earlier in the week, young immigrants who call themselves Dreamers, after legislation that would provide them with citizenship if they attended college or joined the military, held a morning vigil outside Boehner’s Capitol Hill townhouse.
President Obama said this week he understood that House Republicans were skeptical of the Senate’s comprehensive approach. He said he was open to the GOP’s preference for bills that tackle the issue step by step as long as that accomplishes similar goals.
“I was encouraged that the president said that he wouldn't stand in the way of step-by-step immigration reform,” Boehner said. “I'm hopeful we can make progress on this very important issue.”
Boehner declined to say when that might happen.