During a town hall event with Hispanic media outlets on Thursday, President Barack Obama said he was the “champion in chief” for amnesty and that House Speaker John Boehner was “sincere” in wanting to enact comprehensive immigration reform with him.
“I am the champion in chief of comprehensive immigration reform,” Obama said. “But until Congress passes new laws, I am constrained in what I’m able to do.”
Boehner, who has said that he wants to get immigration reform done this year, mentioned that he and Obama agreed the most on immigration reform when they met at the White House recently. After the House GOP leadership released its immigration principles that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) slammed as “amnesty,” momentum for immigration legislation stalled. Boehner and other GOP leaders said they would not move forward with immigration reform until they could trust that Obama would enforce any new immigration laws.
But because Boehner hired Rebecca Tallent, a top adviser to Sen. John McCain on amnesty legislation, to help him craft immigration bills, amnesty opponents have felt Boehner may be just buying time to try to secure the votes of Republicans who are on the fence on amnesty. Amnesty proponents have said this Congress may be the last chance to pass significant immigration reform, and that is why Obama and Boehner may be feeling more of a sense of urgency.
“I think he’s sincere about wanting to do it,” Obama said of Boehner.
Obama also tweeted his quote on his Twitter account after he met with Hispanic media outlets:
“I am the Champion in Chief for comprehensive immigration reform.” –President Obama #ActOnReform
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) March 6, 2014