< Previous Page
He offered no details on how a House bill could be both bipartisan and supported by more than half of his own rank and file, given that most of the bills that have moved through the House Judiciary Committee recently did so on party line votes over the protests of Democrats. None envisions legal status for immigrants now in the country illegally.
Boehner declined to say if there were circumstances under which he could support a pathway to citizenship, but he made clear that securing the border was a priority.
"People have to have confidence that the border is secure before anything else is really going to work. Otherwise, we repeat the mistakes of 1986," he said, referring to the last time Congress overhauled the immigration system.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, also said he favors a bipartisan approach. At the same time, she noted that Democratic principles for immigration include "secure our borders, protect our workers, unite families, a path to legalization and now citizenship for those" without legal status.
While the outcome of the Senate vote was not in doubt, supporters scrambled to maximize the vote and fell short of 70, a level they had talked of reaching. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., spoke with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie on Wednesday night as he lobbied — successfully — for the vote of the state’s Republican Sen. Jeff Chiesa, whom the governor appointed to his seat.
Associated Press writer Donna Cassata contributed to this report.
Copyright 2013 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.