Last Friday, Wonk Room reported that Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) told a town hall of Yuma citizens that the Republican Party will likely filibuster immigration reform if it were proposed. However, this past Sunday on ABC News’ This Week, Kyl denied ever suggesting that his party would filibuster immigration reform:
TAPPER: Very quickly, Senator Kyl. You helped lead the cause of immigration reform in 2007. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said that he is going to bring up immigration reform. You said the other day in Yuma, Arizona, that Republicans will use the opportunity to filibuster. Are you going to help with the filibuster of immigration reform?
KYL: I don’t think I said that, Jake, but what I did say is that the conditions for immigration reform no longer exist. The consensus that existed before does not exist. And among other reasons, because the administration — this current administration has not done what’s necessary to secure the border and enforce the law. We just saw the tragic death of a rancher down on the border, presumably from drug smugglers or illegal immigrants, that simply illustrates once again the fact that we have not controlled the border. And until that’s done, I think it’s going to be very difficult for Congress to support legislation that would be as comprehensive as that I supported three years ago.
The Yuma Sun was responsible for breaking the news that Kyl threatened to filibuster immigration reform. Politifact reached out to editor Roxanne Molenar, who confirmed that “The Yuma Sun stands by the story.” Kyl’s office didn’t respond to Politifact’s request for additional context revolving around the senator’s remarks. In the absence of contradicting evidence, Politifact concluded that Kyl’s statement that he didn’t say “Republicans will use the opportunity to filibuster” is “false.”
Ironically, contrary to what Kyl suggests, the border isn’t in much worse shape than it was when Kyl sponsored a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2007. In fact, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has stated that the U.S has seen “improve[d] immigration enforcement and border security within the current legal framework.” However, she has also asserted that, “We will never have fully effective law enforcement or national security as long as so many millions remain in the shadows.”
If Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has his way, we may soon see for ourselves. Reid told a rally of immigration activists this weekend that Congress would start work on immigration reform as soon as lawmakers return this week from a recess. Reid’s office isn’t backing down from his comments, with one aide stating that Reid is “pretty serious about this.” “We’ve got all of June and most of July to get this done, and then September, but that’s less realistic.”