House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) says he believes he can still bring the Republican Party along to achieve bipartisan immigration reform but if President Obama acts unilaterally he will “poison the well” on the issue.
Speaking to ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on “This Week” over the weekend Boehner spoke about the immigration reform effort in the House and reiterated his commitment to achieving reform.
In an unaired portion of the interview provided by Boehner’s office, however, Boehner made one of his most aggressive statements about how Obama’s expected executive actions on immigration would affect the reform effort in Congress — telling Stephanopoulos that if Obama does take such unilateral actions it would essentially kill the legislative effort.
STEPHANOPOULOS: He’s said that after the election he would likely sign executive orders on immigration. Would that poison the well?
BOEHNER: That would poison the well. And I’ve told the president this directly: if you want to get immigration reform done, and you want to get it right, don’t do things that will poison the well.
Obama has signaled that, in the face of congressional inaction, he will unilaterally act “to fix as much of our immigration system as I can on my own, without Congress.” Initially he set a deadline to act by the end of summer but pushed the deadline until after the midterm elections and before the end of the year amid political concerns from Democrats in tight elections.
In the aired portion of ABC News interview, Boehner highlighted the issued of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the southern border as proof that the border is not secure and that “no good immigration bill can pass until we have real border security.”
According to the Speaker reforming the nation’s immigration laws should be a bipartisan effort and that he “absolutely” can bring the GOP along.
“Big things in Washington take bipartisan majorities. Issue of immigration, only way to do it, and frankly the right way to do it, is to do it in a broad bipartisan way,” he said, going on to add that he remains committed to getting immigration reform done.
“I said the day after the 2012 election it was time to do immigration reform. I meant it then and I mean it today,” he said.