During his visit to Ireland last week, House Speaker John Boehner spoke of his commitment to immigration reform to an audience in Dublin.
While many Republicans have argued against moving forward with immigration reform with President Obama in the White House and Boehner has declined to hold votes on it, the Irish Times reports that the Republican leader said he wants to overcome GOP resistance to taking on the hot-button issue.
“His remarks indicate he may yet move to confront opponents of reform within his own Republican party, which is in the vanguard of resistance to it and has a majority in the House,” Arthur Beesley wrote.
The Speaker’s Office, however, noted that despite what the Times’ reported, Boehner never pinned immigration reform as a top priority — noting instead that Obama’s executive amnesty has made immigration reform unattainable during his presidency.
“The Speaker has made his position clear numerous times. Our immigration system is broken and needs to be fixed, starting with efforts to secure our border,” Boehner spokesman Kevin Smith emailed Breitbart News.
“This is a difficult issue that needs to be addressed,” Smith added. “But the president’s decision to take unilateral action on immigration – action he himself said exceeded his authority 22 times – has sabotaged hopes of serious reform during his presidency.”
According to the Times report, Boehner also spoke about how Ireland’s leader, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, has often pressed him on the immigration matter. There are about 50,000 Irish immigrants living in the U.S. illegally, many having overstated their visas.
Boehner’s comments came Thursday at an annual Independence Day Lunch hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland.
His visit to Ireland with a bipartisan congressional delegation — including Rep. Susan Brooks (R-IN), Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA), Rep. Dan Lipinski (D-IL), Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL), Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID), Rep. Ann Wagner (R-MO), and Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) — came following stops last week in Lithuania, Finland, and Poland.