Immigration reform appears stalled in the House barely a week after the House Republican leadership released an immigration principles document. During a 12-minute press conference on Thursday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said that House Republicans would not move immigration reform forward until they restore their trust in the President.
Boehner said that he “never underestimated the difficulty” of pushing immigration reform through Congress, especially since the President “seemed to change health care law on a whim.” He cited Obama’s push to use his executive authority to “look at all options to make sure that we have a rational, smart system of immigration.” Boehner said:
You all know for the last 15 months, I talked about need to get immigration done … It needs to be dealt with. Having said that, we outlined our principles last week to our members, principles that our members by and large support … but I never underestimated the difficulty in moving forward this year. The reason I said we need a step-by-step common sense approach to this is so we can build trust with the American people that we’re doing this the right way.
And frankly one of the biggest obstacle we face is trust. The American people and including many of my members don’t trust that the reform we’re talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be. The President seemed to change the health care law on a whim whenever he likes. Now he’s running around the country telling everyone that he’s going to keep acting on his own. He keeps talking about his phone and his pen. And he’s feeding more distrust about whether he’s committed to the rule of law.
There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws and it’ll be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.
Boehner and other House Republicans have little reason to doubt Obama’s commitment to enforcing immigration laws. The Obama administration has deported nearly two million immigrants, “illegal entries are at a 40-year low,” and there are more “boots on the ground” at the border than there have ever been in history.
This is not the first time that House Republicans have cited distrust in the President as a way to stall on reform. On Wednesday, Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) said that Obama was preventing a piecemeal approach to reform from taking place and therefore making undocumented immigrants “suffer” as a result. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) said on Sunday that he couldn’t trust Obama to “actually secure the border, actually have interior enforcement” before immigrants are granted “amnesty.” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) voiced similar discontentment.