Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) said today, that while the House GOP is still trying to figure out a way forward on immigration reform, “We have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill.”
The day after the 2012 election, Speaker Boehner said we have to get comprehensive immigration reform done and that he would work with President Obama to do it. Now, five months after the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill, he is saying the House will draft some principles but not pass bills that can be conferenced with the Senate.
According to Frank Sharry, Executive Director of America’s Voice:
Surely, Speaker Boehner and others in the House leadership should reconsider the suicidal path they are headed down. The future of the GOP depends on what the House Republican leadership decides to do on immigration reform. Should they slow-walk it until they get to ‘no’ this year and in this Congress, Boehner will go down in history as the man that sealed his party’s fate with the fastest growing groups of voters in America. He will be sending a message to Latinos, Asian, immigrant and other ascendant voting groups that the GOP is more concerned with opposition from the far-right than in modernizing the party and rehabilitating themselves with the changing American electorate. He will be sending a message to his vulnerable House members in Latino-influenced districts that he is prepared to hang them out to twist in the wind. He will be sending a message that instead of governing pragmatically, the ‘Do Nothing Congress’ is intent on doing nothing.
It’s not like there is no House Republican record on immigration policy in this Congress. Earlier this year the House GOP leadership allowed a vote on an amendment authored by anti-immigrant extremist Rep. Steve King (R-IA) to subject DREAMers to deportation. All House Republicans, including vulnerable 2014 targets representing sizeable Latino voter constituencies, now own that vote in absence of action on immigration reform.
If the GOP wants to present a new side to voters, it’s going to need a new vote in this Congress to stand on. Given the fresh lessons for the GOP from last week’s elections in New Jersey and Virginia regarding immigration and Latino voters, and given the continued escalation by the immigration reform movement throughout the nation, the consequences of inaction are clear: do the right thing for the nation, the economy and your party, or be defined by Steve King and your vote to deport DREAMers.
The GOP should take note: the escalation from advocates is only going to continue. This fight won’t be over until we say it’s over. And as much as Republican leaders may try, they can’t avoid the issue. This morning, two young immigration activists approached the Speaker at breakfast and told him their stories. Last week, GOP Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) had to show up his office late on Thursday night to meet with activists. Today, activists are on the mall at the beginning of a fast for families. This week young people from around the country are in Washington DC to fight for reform. Next week, DREAMers will descend on DC to make their voices heard. Rallies, fasts and pilgrimages are planned in New York, Minnesota, Washington, Florida and Virginia. And that’s only some of what’s to come.