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Boehner: Immigration Principles Not ‘Amnesty’

Speaker John A. Boehner strongly defended his immigration principles released in January against charges from conservative Republicans that they amount to “amnesty.”

“Some want to call it amnesty,” the Ohio Republican told the Cincinnati Enquirer in a wide-ranging, hourlong interview. “I reject that premise … If you come in and plead guilty and pay a fine, that’s not amnesty,” he said.

Boehner reiterated his desire to pass an immigration overhaul, and the paper characterized his position as “a key area of agreement” between the speaker and President Barack Obama at their White House meeting last week.

“He wants to get it done. I want to get it done,” Boehner said. “But he’s going to have to help us in this process.”

But the speaker said he told Obama he’d leave it up to the White House to determine just how to do that.

CQ Roll Call’s whip count shows just 18 House Republicans willing to publicly back the immigration principles.

Boehner also said in the interview he plans to stay on as speaker for another term.

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