Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 11, 2016

Diaz-Balart’s Immigration Overhaul Effort Is Dead for Now


Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., will no longer seek to advance his draft immigration bill (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After a year and a half of stops and starts, unbridled optimism and hints of inevitable defeat, Florida Republican Mario Diaz-Balart has declared his efforts to overhaul the nation’s immigration system officially dead for the 113th Congress.

“Despite our best efforts, today I was informed by the Republican leadership that they have no intention to bring this bill to the floor this year,” the congressman told reporters at a hastily convened press conference in the Cannon House Office Building on Thursday afternoon. “It is disappointing and highly unfortunate.”

Later, Diaz-Balart repeated, “I don’t think I can hide my disappointment.”

Diaz-Balart has said for months that he was working on a comprehensive immigration bill, and within the past few weeks he went so far as to say it was all but ready to go, a product of months of conversations with members on both sides of the aisle. Compromises were drawn, concessions were made and a promising whip count evolved — all in secret to avoid a press leak that could blow the cover of members with whom fragile alliances were being formed.

Holding court in the Speaker’s Lobby and granting interviews to TV and print reporters, in English and in Spanish, he insisted that progress was being made, slowly but surely, and that patience could pay off in the end.

But multiple unexpected events — most recently the primary defeat of Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and the uproar over the child migrant surge at the southwest border — created an insurmountable obstacle for Diaz-Balart. Members once inclined to risk political retribution for backing a controversial immigration bill became more skittish, and the appetite for passing an immigration bill, from the rank and file up to Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, began to rapidly diminish.

President Barack Obama also announced last week that Boehner had told him there would be no vote on immigration legislation this year, and that foregone conclusion signaled that Diaz-Balart might finally feel compelled to declare defeat.

At his Thursday press conference, he said he has not yet committed to releasing the text of the legislation, still technically considered a draft as it has never been formally introduced. He also wouldn’t divulge a whip count.

“I feel absolutely confident that we had the majority — of the majority — of support from the House Republican Conference,” Diaz-Balart stressed, adding that there were also a wide swatch of Democratic members prepared to buck their leadership if necessary and sign onto a GOP bill.

While declining to name names of those ready to stand behind him, Diaz-Balart gave shout-outs to lawmakers who had been particularly helpful throughout the process.

He thanked Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, D-Ill., “for all his help [and] for his willingness, when necessary, to take on Republicans, Democrats and the president.”

He said he was “grateful” for “the cooperation, advice and trust” of Boehner and his staff. Budget Chairman Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., who was, at one poin,t attempting to convince the far-right contingent of the party to come to the middle on immigration, was thanked by Diaz-Balart for his “guidance, leadership and friendship.” He also thanked Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a fellow Florida Republican whom Diaz-Balart called his “legislative sister.”

“I hope that, in the near future, leadership will reconsider and allow my legislation to come to the floor,” he said. “I, for one, am not willing to give up and will continue to work until we can finally fix a broken immigration system that everyone recognizes is dysfunctional.

“I want to make it very clear,” he said, “that I am ready to proceed at any time.”

Bridget Bowman contributed to this report.


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  • Wigglesworth

    Don’t let your guard down against these ethno-supremacist vermin who have more allegiance to foreigners than to Americans.

  • ggm281

    Gee did it blow up because it was exposed that a “secure border” just really means granting waivers to everyone who shows up (unless they are Mexican or Canadian)??? Or was it because the public understands the “additional funding” is really just to process the 20+ millions of applications for permanent residence status, plus funding for assistance to the amnestied to aid them in meeting the requirements?? Or is it that the public is becoming clued in to the fact that the “activists” will never rest until ANYONE who wants can have their families provided for by a dwindling number of US taxpayers so they will “break” whatever system is put in place as they always have? Or maybe they know that millions of US Millennials are still looking for full time work while DHS is allowing a flood of Central American, Caribbean, Chinese, Indian and Pakistani Millennials unfettered access (unless of course they have higher education. Then we limit them to a slave H1B). Or perhaps it is because the fallacy of “not enough Tech skills” was exposed in multiple class action lawsuits alleging that companies required US employees to train the H1B who replaced them before they were “laid off”???
    We don’t need more immigrants. We need more honest politicians and more educated voters!!!

  • Dave Francis

    IT’S ALL

    Most left
    oriented newspapers that cover the polls, illustrate in their wording in a
    biased way by manipulating the facts. Most members of the editorial staff that
    have been brain washed in a Liberal college or university and schools. They see
    no difference between honest immigrants who go through the paperwork, FBI
    background investigation, medical checkups and biological inspection to be
    admitted into the United States with a welcome sign from our
    society. But unfortunately the criminal illegal alien who slipped past
    immigration enforcement at the borders, or alighted from a plane indistinguishable
    from crowds of tourists, determined not to return home and then vanish from
    sight, given a bogus address. These have been tagged “Overstays” that used to
    outnumber the border jumpers by 46 percent. Both groups can be classed as
    Illegal, but there have been “calculated” laws to “mask” the facts allowing
    those who cross the borders, as a simple civil offense instead of what it should
    be–a FELONY. Congress needs to amend the policy, so OTM’s (other then
    Mexicans) can be deported, with all due haste—the same as Canadians and
    Mexicans can be turned around instantly.

    political parties are to blame for this hotchpotch of laws, which have been
    carefully structured for big business, agriculture and all special interests
    craving cheap workers or illegal votes. Millions have come to America illegally to take advantage of our
    lax laws, such as pregnant women who are near their time and then birth their
    baby. To not only gain immediate citizenship that has been well titled, “Anchor
    Babies” so they are anchored in an foolish America, by a 19th
    century well-intentioned slavery law, that again has been transformed by the
    Liberals for any illegal alien who has a baby here. Thus then we have another
    mouth to feed, house, hospital stays, cash payments for the baby and a
    abundance of other financial entitlements, left for the taxpayers to cover.
    This is further corrupted by the IRS child tax refund, but for many criminal
    aliens a quick way to claim $1500 dollars and the establishment led by Dem
    oldster Sen. Harry Reid who sees no blame in handing out over more than $ 4
    billion even to foreign outlanders. There is a whole corrupt industry today
    with birth-baby tourism, to claim a birth certificate and passport. Then
    eventually that individual borne here can petition the court, to bring a whole
    retinue of family members here. This is what is going to happen with the
    “intentionally” hordes of pregnant mothers with their children or unaccompanied
    minors, who few will ever be deported under the Obama imperial government.

    There is
    ONLY one poll I truly trust and that should be the same of prudent people, who
    are not gullible to the majority of Liberal interpretation, rhetoric or even worse ignoring the facts, or writing a small article
    next to Obituaries, which gets limited reading. In The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey
    finds that 82% of American Adults think it is important to secure the border to
    prevent future illegal immigration, with 60% who say it is Very Important. This
    is up slightly from 78% and 57% respectively.
    ONE NEWS OR FOXNEWS. does not twist words or spread lies
    on behalf of the Liberal zealots or open border and anti-sovereignty nuts.

    Then we have the 2006 double layer border
    fence promise; two separate fences separated by a double track way for criminal
    interdiction by the US border Patrol. Former President Bush signed
    it into law, which was to stretch 700 miles. The whole thing was sabotaged by prior Republican Senator
    Kay Bailey Hutchinson of Texas. She added an amendment that destroyed the whole
    concept and so the two fences facing each other, was never built as promised.
    Her suspicious reasoning has caused the massive eruption of all categories of
    criminals, plus subsidy illegal aliens filing across the porous border today;
    many areas have nothing more than a few strands of rusted wire and nothing
    more. The Constitution clearly states in its edicts, that the people must be
    protected from Domestic or foreign invasion. However has distinguished himself
    from other presidents by ignoring the founder’s papers. Do you want the
    National TEA PARTY to keep fighting for what our Founding Fathers believed in,
    for the US Constitution they set forth…for our freedom, liberty and justice?
    If you believe in America then believe in the
    National Tea Party then support our efforts. We count on America’s grassroots
    to support our vast efforts—phone calls, emails, faxes, petitions, public
    meetings, protests and actually talking face to face with lawmakers. Without
    the influence of National Tea Party Candidates eventually your family,
    children will not recognize the America,
    a negative future under Obama’s royal reign. Millions more illegal aliens will
    get to stay thanks to potential Liberal donors, multi-million voters, who
    eventually would crush American exceptionalism. Check these sites for factual
    accountability at and phone Numbers and
    Mailing Addresses of Members of Congress at http://www.contactingthecongress.

    • telmog

      What a boatload of nonsense.
      Just tiresome and regurgitated talking points.

      Sorry, maybe not now, but you are to be drown on the 2016 elections.

  • Yonatan YONATAN

    Senator John Boehner, and his republican cohorts in the senate, are directly responsible for the three million unemployed families, STILL without an extension of benefits since late last December. They have single handedly pushed these families into further financial ruin and deep poverty, over these last six months, without an extension bill. While they fought vigorously on behalf of the Koch brother’s oil pipeline bill, they totally disregarded the suffering of these families. While congress approved billions of dollars in aid for the Ukraine, and more money set aside for the defense of Europe, these American families were left hung out to dry. Recently more money is requested to support the illegal migrant children pouring undisrupted into our country, at the border. The president is planning on assisting these children with tax payer’s dollars. While this is commemorated, what about the three million unemployed Americans that have been forgotten about, who are still in a desperate financial situation, in our own country? Why are our poor and unemployed never a priority to our own government??

    • Farmer_Girl

      I plan to pay John McCain back in 2016 and Flake in 2018. Neither are fit to hold office. If they survive their primary I will be voting Democrat. This Republican voter is done voting loyally for politicians who betray their constituents. Maybe illegals can help both win re-election because those are the only people either one ever represented.

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