Boehner Says GOP Immigration Principles Will Be Released Soon

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Speaker John A. Boehner confirmed Thursday that he is preparing to release a set of "principles" and "standards" to guide the House GOP's path forward on overhauling the nation's immigration system.

"[House Judiciary] Chairman [Robert W.] Goodlatte has been working with the leaders, really, over the course of the last year, as we listen to our members and discuss this issue," the Ohio Republican at his weekly news conference. "We thought it would be appropriate to outline standards, principles, that would guide us in a common sense, step-by-step approach to immigration."

As for a timeline, Boehner said: "I would expect in the coming weeks to have those available."

Boehner would say no more on the subject, demurring when asked explicitly what his own principles would look like for a congressional rewrite of immigration laws.

Democrats and the lawmakers and advocates who want a comprehensive immigration overhaul that provides a pathway to legal status for the nation's 11 million undocumented individuals might end up being disappointed by the priorities Boehner outlines at the end of the day.

The most senior Republican in Washington, D.C., has, after all, put the kibosh on moving one big bill through the chamber, saying he instead wants to pursue a step-by-step approach that Democrats worry will ultimately preclude a citizenship component.

But Boehner's forthcoming principles do signal a willingness to move forward at a time when some lawmakers were worried that the larger topic of immigration was at a permanent standstill.

Boehner also excited immigration overhaul proponents with the hire late last year of Rebecca Tallent as his immigration policy director, a Capitol Hill veteran with experience shepherding the most recent major immigration rewrites through Congress.

First reports of Boehner's soon-to-be-release memo on immigration proprieties came on Wednesday, after his weekly meeting with the rank and file.