At a press conference today, Speaker John Boehner reiterated his commitment to enacting immigration reform in a piecemeal approach during this Congress. Some media outlets suggested the prospects were nil after Boehner said the House would not go to conference committee with the Senate’s comprehensive amnesty bill.
Today Boehner told reporters, “Is immigration reform dead? Absolutely not…I believe the Congress needs to deal with this. Our committees are continuing to do their work. There are a lot of private conversations that are underway to try to figure out how do we best move on a common-sense, step-by-step basis to address this very important issue. Because it is a very important issue.”
Boehner said he was “encouraged” by President Obama’s recent acceptance of the House’s piecemeal approach. At a business forum yesterday, Obama had said, "If they want to chop that thing up into five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don't care what it looks like, as long as it's actually delivering on those core values that we talk about."
“The American people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills, and they should be,” Boehner said today. “The only way to make sure immigration reform works this time is to address the complicated issues one step at a time. I think doing so will give the American people confidence that we’re dealing with these issues in a thoughtful way and a deliberative way. So I’m hopeful that we can make progress on this very important issue.”
He did not lay out a specific timetable for House votes on immigration bills, or discuss the issue of legal status or citizenship for illegal aliens.
In an effort to spur movement on amnesty legislation, advocates confronted Boehner several times over the last week. Today amnesty activists entered his personal congressional office in an attempt to deliver a turkey and a bottle of wine, which was meant to represent the work that illegal aliens do in harvesting food. Early Wednesday morning, several hundred held a candlelight vigil in front of his Washington, D.C. home. And last week, two activists confronted him while he ate breakfast in his favorite local diner.
Amnesty advocates also targeted Majority Leader Eric Cantor, although with more extreme tactics. 11 activists conducted a "civil disobediance protest" in Cantor's personal congressional office yesterday afternoon. All were arrested after refusing to leave, including five illegal aliens. Then late last night, about 60 activists poured into the lobby of Cantor's condominium complex and shouted chants. They were allowed to continue their protest in front of the building and used bullhorns despite police warnings.
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