A previously unreported comment made by Speaker John Boehner indicates that a bipartisan agreement has been reached on comprehensive immigration reform.
During a question-and-answer session on Tuesday at the Ripon Society, a Republican advocacy group, Boehner said a bipartisan group of lawmakers “basically [has] an agreement” on immigration reform after more than three years of secret talks, according to The Hill.
Responding to a question, Boehner said it is “time to deal” with immigration:
“I said it the day after the election. I meant it, and we’re going to have to deal with it. I think there’s a bipartisan group of members that have been meeting now for three or four years. Frankly, I think they basically have an agreement. I’ve not seen the agreement. I don’t know all the pitfalls in it, but it’s in my view, the right group of members.”
It’s not clear why there’s such a need for such secrecy in addressing one of the more challenging issues of our time. Nonetheless, Boehner did not name the participants, The Hill notes, other than to say they included “some of the hard heads on our side, and some of the people involved on immigration reform on their side.”
Sen. Marco Rubio seems to have spurred the ongoing focus on immigration when he detailed his own plans for reform in a Wall Street Journal interview in mid-January.
And the Democratic Party has no intentions of allowing Republicans to gain any momentum on the issue as the White House announced Friday that President Obama will debut his plans for comprehensive immigration reform at an event Tuesday in Las Vegas.
In the November election, Obama received 71% of the Hispanic vote — the fastest growing demographic group in America topping 50 million, or 16.3% of the nation. Many in the Hispanic community have been led to believe the Republican Party is unwelcoming.
“The immigration issue is a gateway issue for Hispanics, no doubt about it,” Rubio told the Wall Street Journal. “No matter what your stance is on a number of other issues, if people somehow come to believe that you don’t like them or want them here, it’s difficult to get them to listen to anything else.”