On Thursday, House Republican leaders reportedly denied Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart’s (R-FL) final request to act on his amnesty bill, which he had planned to push after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) June primary.
After Cantor was stunningly ousted because of the immigration issue and Tea Party opposition, as a post-election poll showed, Diaz-Balart never got that chance. And after House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told President Barack Obama that the House would not act on an amnesty bill, Obama said he would use executive actions to change as many immigration laws as he can.
Diaz Balart told the Washington Post that he was “very disappointed” and “said he had legislation ready to go, and that his conversations convinced him that a solid number of Republicans and Democrats would have supported it.”
“I’m seriously disappointed,” Diaz-Balart said. “We have a historic opportunity to fix a system everyone knows is broken. We’re squandering that opportunity. The bottom line is, we have a bill that is ready to go. We had bipartisan support. And yet I’ve been told we’re not going to move forward this year.”
Diaz-Balart reportedly was “ready to announce to House leaders that a majority of House Republicans supported his immigration reform bill,” and Politico reported that Diaz-Balart had been “quietly shopping a PowerPoint presentation of a border enforcement and legalization bill to his colleagues and secured soft commitments from at least 120 Republicans.” With enough Democrats supporting the bill, House Republicans who would have enabled the bill to make it to the floor could have then voted against it.
Diaz-Balart also said Obama should not rescind the Deferred Action program, and the border crisis is an opportunity to pass amnesty legislation.
He also told the Post that though “there’s something to be said for the idea that the president’s incoherent policy has made this situation worse,” he didn’t know “how deporting someone who has been here for many years, who has done everything, gone to school — I don’t know how that helps.”
“The current crisis has thrown a bucket of cold water on reform, and to me, that’s interesting,” he said. “It’s precisely another demonstration that we have a broken system that has to be fixed. And we have legislation to do that.”