UPDATE: A lack of trust between the public and the Obama administration is stalling chances of immigration reform, according to House Speaker John Boehner.
“The American people, including many of my members, don’t trust that the reform that we’re talking about will be implemented as it was intended to be,” Boehner said at a press conference Thursday.
“There’s widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws and it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”
ORIGINAL STORY: Less than a week after Republican leaders released a set of immigration reform principles, House conservatives declared the issue dead for this year.
“There was overwhelming support for the idea of doing nothing this year,” said Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID), recounting the reaction from lawmakers at last week’s Republican retreat.
>>> Watch our video above to find out why Labrador thinks Speaker John Boehner’s job could be in jeopardy
House Republican leaders last week released a set of six principles for immigration reform. The issue dominated the discussion at today’s Conversations with Conservatives panel on Capitol Hill.
“The most important thing is for the American people to feel secure in their land, to feel secure in their borders, and to actually feel economic security at the same time,” said Labrador, who expressed hope that if Republicans take control of the Senate next year, immigration reform could be “one of the first things” to be addressed.
“The President has a year to prove to us that he’s willing to actually enforce the law,” Labrador said, referring to current enforcement standards for illegal immigrants. “The position of this President is that unless he gets everything, he’s willing to let people suffer.”
For several lawmakers, it came down to a trust issue. Representative Jim Jordan (R-OH) said: “It’s just tough to work with this President when you’ve seen his track record on this issue and others. It’s tough to negotiate with someone in good faith when they’ve done the things they’ve done.”
Representative Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) suggested the immigration debate needs to shift from one largely driven by big business and K Street lobbyists to one that focuses on economic opportunity for the middle class.
Labrador encouraged his colleagues to engage in dialogue with the Hispanic community as an first step, especially in border states and communities. He addressed Hispanic Americans:
Over the last five years, you have more unemployment in your community, you have more people in poverty, you have more people losing their jobs . . . and why is that? Because of the policies of this President.
And the same thing is happening with every single group that voted for Obama except for the wealthy. You look at single women, you look at African Americans, you look at Hispanic Americans and the people with low education – they are all suffering more under this President than they were before.
Conversations with Conservatives is a monthly event chaired by Huelskamp, Jordan, and Labrador. The Foundry’s Genevieve Wood moderated the conversation. Full video of the 53-minute discussion is below.
This story was produced by The Foundry’s news team. Nothing here should be construed as necessarily reflecting the views of The Heritage Foundation.