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It began with a tiny leak earlier this month — sources telling the Wall Street Journal that Speaker John A. Boehner, behind closed doors, said he’s “hell bent” on tackling immigration this year.
Now, an issue that had been pronounced legislatively dead just weeks ago is one of the hottest topics facing lawmakers in both parties returning to Washington after a two-week recess.
The signs of life for a revitalized push for an immigration overhaul are suddenly popping up everywhere:
President Barack Obama and other leading Democrats are feeling pressure themselves from activists who are demanding a deal — or executive action. The administration is weighing whether to unilaterally decide to allow undocumented immigrants who don’t have serious criminal records to stay in the U.S. A dozen immigration-rights protesters were arrested Monday outside the White House.
There are still many on the GOP side of the aisle unhappy about talk of a new immigration deal.
“The Obama Administration has its own kind of immigration reform: President Obama is, reportedly, working on more and newer ways to flaunt his disregard for existing immigration law, this time by attempting to stop the deportation of people who have repeatedly broken our laws by entering and re-entering the U.S. illegally,” said Rep. John Fleming, R-La., in a statement to CQ Roll Call. “House Republicans should focus on demanding that this administration abide by existing laws instead of even considering drafting new immigration laws for Obama to use to his political advantage.”
The conservative Heritage Foundation has also slammed the rumored deal. Heritage Action for America CEO Michael A. Needham called Boehner’s Rotary Club remarks “disappointing.”
“The Republican Party should be large enough for fact-based policy debates,” Needham said. “Unfortunately, John Boehner is more interested in advancing the agenda of high-powered D.C. special interests than inspiring Americans with a policy vision that allows freedom, opportunity, prosperity and civil society to flourish.”