House Speaker John Boehner put a big dent in any remaining hope for immigration reform this year at his Thursday morning presser.
“One of the biggest obstacles we face is the one of trust,” Boehner said. “The American people, including many of my members, don’t trust that the reform that we’re talking about would be implemented as it’s intended to be.”
Saying that President Obama makes changes to the Affordable Care Act “on a whim, whenever he likes,” the speaker said he and his caucus harbor “widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws. And it’s going to be difficult to move any immigration legislation until that changes.”
Last week, the House GOP rolled out a draft of immigration principles at its annual retreat. The principles gave some hope to immigration-reform advocates that something could actually get done this year, especially with Republicans seemingly open to giving legal status (but not citizenship) for immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. On Thursday, Boehner said that the set of suggestions are “principles that our members by and large support.”
It’s not at all clear what, if anything, the White House could actually do to fix the trust problem. And it’s entirely possible that “trust” is just a convenient cover for something to the effect that, “The draft principles didn’t really go over well with the caucus, we don’t have the votes, but we’d like to pin the blame for stalemate on someone else.” But regardless of what’s behind it, the new attitude could make it very tough for anything to happen this year.