WASHINGTON–House Republican leaders released “draft standards” on Thursday to take on immigration reform in what House Speaker John Boehner R-Ohio said were “bite-size” pieces. (Read the GOP House memo above).
Boehner said at a press conference, “I think it’s time to deal with it.But how we deal with it is gonna be critically important. You know, it’s one thing to pass a law. It’s another thing to have the confidence of the American people behind that law as you’re passing it.That’s why doing immigration reform in a common-sense, step-by- step manner helps our members understand the bite-size pieces, and it helps our constituents build more confidence that what we’re doing makes sense.
House Republicans were at a retreat on Thursday and Boehner said “we’re gonna talk to our members today about the principles that the leadership team has put together. I’m not gonna — I’m not gonna get out any further. We’re gonna have the conversation today.
He added, “Now, listen, you can’t — you can’t begin the process of immigration reform without securing our borders and the ability to enforce our laws. Everyone in our conference understands that’s the first step in terms of meaningful reform of this problem.”
Rep. Luis Gutierrez D-Ill. a Democrat taking a national lead on immigration–who has been and remains a channel to House Republicans in order to forge some kind of deal–said, “We have gone from the Republicans saying ‘self-deportation’ and ‘veto the DREAM Act,’ to saying we need bipartisan solutions in just about a year. And we have gone from some Democrats saying immigration is too difficult an issue to handle to saying we need bipartisan solutions in just a few years. We are now talking about how people stay and how they come legally, not how we kick out 11 million people and build a big moat around the country.
“…The details really matter and I have not seen anything concrete from the Republicans so I am not in a position to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to anything,” Gutierrez said.