Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 1, 2014

Boehner Wants ‘Fairness’ for Young Immigrants

Speaker John A. Boehner is optimistic the House will tackle immigration before lawmakers tackle the looming debt ceiling, and he endorsed relief for immigrants brought to the United States illegally by their parents.

With GOP leaders largely committed to addressing immigration in some fashion — mostly by bringing components of an overhaul to the floor piece by piece — the two lingering questions are when and whether Republicans would provide a pathway to citizenship.

While Boehner wasn’t explicit on either question Wednesday, he offered hints.

Asked whether an immigration overhaul would make it to the floor before lawmakers address the debt ceiling, which is set to expire at some point this fall, Boehner said, “We’ll see, but I would hope so.”

The Ohio Republican also left the possibility open for a pathway to citizenship for the young.

“People expect that there should be fairness for children who came to this country illegally but through no fault of their own,” Boehner said Wednesday when asked about the issue.

Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., has been spearheading an effort to draft a bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for young immigrants, though GOP aides insist it will be different from the Dream Act.

In fact, “Dream” (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) is a taboo word in the Republican Conference. Cantor’s bill, which will likely be called the KIDS Act, will also be an acronym, though the majority leader has yet to settle on what exactly it will stand for — as well as what it will contain.

The House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing next week on granting citizenship to illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children.

On Wednesday, Boehner recommitted his conference to the piece-by-piece approach, saying Republicans would start with border security.

“Americans expect, as a nation of laws, that we’ll enforce those, starting at the border,” Boehner said. “I think it’s only fair.”

Boehner continued that Americans “expect” illegal immigrants to not get “special treatment.” What “special treatment” means remains to be seen.

Still, Boehner expressed a strong desire to take up immigration legislation.

“We need immigration reform,” he said. “It’s good for our country, and, frankly, it’s the right thing to do.”

  • El Puma

    If he means what he says about it being good for the country and it being right, he’ll swallow his pride and bring the Senate package to the floor. If doing what is right is what counts, Mr. Speaker, (not increasing your own job security), then the entire reform package deserves a vote.

  • RadDad1

    Speaker Boehner needs to understand that internal security is part of border security as well. We must stop the practice of granting US citizenship to babies born here whose parents are foreign nationals. Until the nation stops that practice we will never solve the illegal immigration problem.

  • monacall

    what’s wrong with the laws on the books, ya just gotta follow them….

  • spbigger

    We have to get rid of those in the House and Senate who do not represent our interest. They seem to only be interested in being reelected. Close the border first or lose your seats. Those full of double talk have to go! They have to be booted out along with ObummerCare. If ObummerCare stays it will be the fault of the House and Senate. First , close the borders and ObummerCare, then work on a new immigration bill–as if the existing one is not good enough. Then, maybe our failing Nation can be revived.

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