"You tease the ones you love, but some people misunderstood what I
had to say and some members misunderstood," Boehner said after a
closed-door meeting with Republican House members.
He was referring to comments he made at a Rotary Club luncheon in
his Ohio district last Thursday, in which he described the attitude
of other House Republicans on immigration reform as: "Don't make me
Some congressional aides and immigration reform advocates viewed
those remarks as a possible signal of a renewed drive to pass an
immigration bill in the House. But Republican House members emerging
from Tuesday's meeting said the speaker played down that prospect
during the closed-door Republican meeting.
"He actually came out and made some really very strong statements
that go against what his comments suggested. Just to reiterate:
Number one, we're not going to conference on a Senate immigration
bill," Representative John Fleming said.
Boehner has long talked of his interest in getting an immigration
bill through Congress to address concerns such as border security.
The Senate last year passed a sweeping measure that included a path
to citizenship for certain undocumented immigrants. But some House
conservatives oppose that measure, which they view as amnesty for
Boehner has repeatedly dismissed the idea of passing the Senate
version of the immigration bill in the House but has said that his
chamber could consider a measure of its own.
Some House Republicans have suggested the possibility of legalizing
some undocumented residents instead of establishing a specific
pathway to citizenship.
Several members, including Boehner, said after Tuesday's meeting
that any chance of House action on immigration would be nullified if
the Obama administration goes forward with a plan it has hinted
would lighten the enforcement of existing immigration law without
[to top of second column]
Boehner's comments last week stirred frictions with some House
"His remarks were inappropriate. We were offended. Absolutely," said
Representative Paul Gosar after the party's meeting with Boehner.
A review ordered by President Barack Obama on deportation
enforcement at the Department of Homeland Security is due out in the
next few weeks. The report is likely to recommend steps to ensure
that some immigrants who are in the country illegally but have not
committed serious crimes should be allowed to remain in the United
States, according to several sources familiar with the review.
Republicans in both the House and the Senate have warned against any
potential move by the administration to change current deportation
policies, saying any such changes should be made through
Boehner on Tuesday said the "biggest impediment" in the House moving
forward with immigration reform is their mistrust in the president
to enforce existing laws.
But he also could face opposition from many of his 233 Republicans,
who do not want to get dragged into a contentious immigration debate
before the November congressional elections.
(Reporting by Julia Edwards; additional reporting by Richard Cowan,
Susan Cornwell, and Thomas Ferraro; editing by David Gregorio)
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