House Republicans must pass immigration reform legislation or they will leave their party “in a much weaker position” if they fail to act, warned Speaker John Boehner and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan after a closed door meeting with the conference on Wednesday, The Hill reported.
Boehner met with Republicans during a two-hour meeting in the Capitol, where they tried to come up with a party strategy on how to respond to the immigration reform bill passed by the Senate last month, sources told The Hill
Opening the meeting, Boehner pledged that no immigration will would come to the House floor without the support of a majority of Republican lawmakers, according to The Hill. But Boehner and Ryan insisted that House Republicans must come up with immigration reform that remains in keeping with their party’s principles, Republicans at the meeting said.
Boehner “said we’d be in a much weaker position if we didn’t act,” according to Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.). “He clearly wants to act, thinks something needs to get done. Frankly, our principles are probably closer to where the American people are, but it’s incumbent upon us to act.”
After the meeting, Ryan said he’s confident that the House will deliver its own measure.
“I think our members are ready to tackle this issue. It needs to be fixed,” he told reporters. “There is an emerging consensus that our immigration system is broken, that we need to fix it, and we need to do it in a very thorough way.
Republican Party leaders are anxious to come up with immigration reform legislation to lure the rapidly growing number of Hispanic voters to their ranks. During the 2012 election, Hispanics skewed heavily to President Obama and the Democrats.
But many House Republicans, who don’t have significant Hispanic populations in their district, are unwilling to back any legislation that provides a pathway to citizenship for about 11 million illegal aliens as is called for in the Senate bill.
“There is little consensus in there for doing anything other than border security," said Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.), told The Hill.
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