House Speaker Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) declined to speak about forthcoming immigration “principles” at a press conference Tuesday, even as top party officials have in past days said it would include “legal status” for millions of illegal immigrants.
Boehner said the matter would first need to be discussed with the House Republican conference before the GOP’s direction was decided.
“We’re going to outline our standards, principles of immigration reform and have a conversation with our members. Once that conversation is over we can get a better feel for what members have in mind,” Boehner told reporters.
GOP Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) suggested the principles would include “legal status” in a television interview last week. Other media reports have said the principles, as drafted, include legal status.
At a closed-door meeting just before the press conference, GOP leadership only briefly touched on the issue to tell rank-and-file members it would be discussed at the upcoming retreat in Maryland, a GOP source said.
As Boehner and other top Republicans have become bolder in their embrace of pushing immigration reform through the House, conservative lawmakers have been quietly plotting to push back. Top right wing pundits have pleaded with the party’s leadership not to commit what is in their view a giant unforced political error.