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Boehner Sounds Doubtful on Immigration Overhaul (Updated)

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Updated 1:30 p.m. | Speaker John A. Boehner suggested Thursday it’s unlikely the House will move forward with an immigration overhaul this year, saying it will be “difficult” to move any legislation thanks to President Barack Obama.  

“You all know, for the last 15 months, I’ve talked about the need to get immigration reform done. It’s an important issue in our country that’s been kicked around forever and needs to be dealt with,” Boehner told reporters. “Having said that, we outlined our principles last week to our members — principles that our members, by and large, support.”  

And then came the bad news for advocates of an immigration rewrite: “But I’ve never underestimated the difficulty in moving forward this year.”  

The Ohio Republican said the reason he’s pushed for a step-by-step approach on immigration is so Congress can build trust with the American public.  

“The American people, including many of my members, don’t trust that the reform that we’re talking about will be implemented as intended to be,” Boehner said Thursday.  

Boehner said Obama has a proclivity to change how his health care law is implemented, “and it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”  

Update 1:33 p.m. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said that despite Boehner’s comments, the administration remains optimistic that an immigration overhaul will become law this year.  

When asked about GOP concerns Obama will not enforce the law, Carney touted the president’s increase in border enforcement, including a record number of border patrol agents, while not mentioning the concern many Republicans had when the president bypassed Congress to end deportations of children brought here illegally.  

He also suggested the problems are within the GOP — not with Obama.  

“I think that the challenges within the Republican Party on this issue are well known and they certainly don’t have anything to do with the president,” Carney said. “But as I noted before, the progress has been significant. I think that there is a genuine recognition among leaders in the Republican Party that this is the right thing to do for our economy. …We’re just going to work steadily on this issue, and we believe that it will get done.”  

Steven T. Dennis contributed to this report.

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