House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday he had “healthy discussion” with President Barack Obama this week on immigration, and White House press secretary Jay Carney later asserted that a comprehensive immigration reform package is “going to happen.”
Boehner said earlier this month that immigration legislation to bestow legal status on some 11 million illegal immigrants in the country while increasing border security would not pass this year because House Republicans did not trust the president to enforce the law.
“Immigration — we had a very good, very healthy conversation on immigration,” Boehner said Thursday referring to a meeting he had with Obama on Tuesday at the White House.
Asked about Boehner’s comments, Carney suggested such a package must pass and it’s a matter of when.
“I can certainly confirm that immigration was one of the topics they discussed. I can certainly confirm that there is broad agreement that this is an issue that needs to be addressed,” Carney said. “We’ve seen that in the steps that Speaker Boehner and other Republican leaders have taken this year. That’s in contrast to the steps they’ve taken previously operating sort of approached immigration reform with self deportation.”
Carney noted that the Democrat-controlled Senate passed an immigration bill with bipartisan support last year that reflects Obama’s main goals for reform.
“He hopes and expects that the House will act,” Carney said of the president. “It’s certainly true he spoke to the speaker about this. It’s certainly true that the speaker has led an effort in the House to produce among House Republicans a set of principles and standards on immigration reform and we are certainly hopeful this effort will move forward because it’s going to happen and it needs to happen.”
Carney added, “The question that needs to be answered by Republican leaders is when, because certainly the sooner the better.”