Immigration Reform Is Dead. Long Live Immigration Reform!

By Tristan Ahtone
November 13, 2013

"I'll make clear we have no intention ever of going to conference on the Senate bill." - John Boehner, Speaker of the House

In other words, negotiations between the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate on comprehensive immigration reform will not happen, leaving the bill dead.

In June, the Senate passed S. 744 which would provide around 11 million immigrants without documentation in the U.S. a path to citizenship. In a 68-32 vote, the first reformation of America's immigration policies since 1986 looked to be a sign of change in Washington, although analysts predicted it would have a hard time passing.

As of Wednesday, it's dead.

"I want us to deal with this issue, but I want to deal with it in a common sense step by step way," Boehner (R-Ohio) said. Adding that he wanted to continue working on immigration reform. His caution on the issue did not exactly stir everyone in Washington.

“Speaker Boehner’s comments are insulting to the majority of Americans who want to see comprehensive immigration reform. It has been over six months since Democrats and Republicans in the Senate joined forces, negotiated and passed an immigration bill that was approved by a supermajority. The House of Representatives has irresponsibly voted over 45 times to defund the Affordable Care Act, yet Speaker Boehner now claims there is no time for one single vote on common-sense immigration reform. This is the same kind of Republican obstructionism that led our government to shut down last month. Legislating requires cooperation and discussion." - U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ)

However the Huffington Post reports White House Press Secretary Jay Carney says immigration reform could still happen this year.

"Obviously, the House is the obstacle or the opportunity, and we, as I said, believe that if there were the will in the House to act quickly and decisively on comprehensive immigration reform, it could be achieved and it would receive a broad bipartisan vote in the affirmative."

Earlier in the day, Boehner's breakfast was interrupted by two immigration activists aged 13 and 16. The youngest reportedly explained that her father was deported three years prior.

“So how would you feel if you had to tell your kids at the age of ten that you were never coming home?" she asked.

“Well, I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done,” Boehner responded. “It’s, uh, you know, not easy, not going to be an easy path forward. But I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that it’s time to get this done.”