House Speaker John Boehner is taking a stand on comprehensive immigration reform, and it appears that he will be eliminating any chance of the legislation coming to a vote by the end of the year.
Speaking to the idea of combining a House bill with the immigration overhaul measure passed by the Senate over the summer, Boehner told reporters, “The idea that we’re going to take up a 1,300-page bill that no one had ever read, which is what the Senate did, is not going to happen in the House. And frankly, I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.”
Instead, Boehner wants to take a step-by-step approach to immigration reform, which he describes as a more common-sense strategy. One of the major holdups is the idea of paving a path to citizenship for the nearly 11 million undocumented workers currently living in the United States.
He also cited the limited time left in the current legislative session and other priorities, including the Affordable Care Act and ongoing budget negotiations, as other reasons why immigration reform would be put off until 2014.
Immigrants confront Boehner
The tension over Boehner’s statements was heightened even further when he was confronted by two young undocumented immigrants. One of them, 17-year-old Carmen Linda, asked Boehner how he would feel if his family was torn apart.
According to The New York Times, in response, Boehner told her, “I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done. It’s, uh, as you know, not easy, not going to be an easy path forward. But I’ve made it clear since the day after the election it’s time to get this done.”
As of now, it appears that the most likely timing for the House to take up immigration reform legislation will be in early 2014, before the midterm elections get into full swing.