The odds of immigration reform happening this year hinge on whether President Obama can gain the trust of dubious Republicans in the House of Representatives, according to one GOP congressman.
Rep. Raúl Labrador (Idaho) told Jorge Ramos on Thursday that Republicans won’t enter into negotiations on an immigration deal unless they believe the White House is acting in good faith.
“The Republicans do not trust the president of the United States at this time to be fair with us on immigration, on Obamacare, on any of the issues of the day,” he said. “The president has already shown that he’s unwilling to follow the law. Take for example Obamacare, the law was passed by only Democrats and he has actually waived many parts of the law. Our fear is that we pass immigration reform and the president decides that he’s not going to enforce the parts of the law that he doesn’t like, and only enforce the parts of the law that he likes.”
A once-hopeful immigration reform push in Washington now looks unlikely in 2014. Last June, the Senate passed an extensive bill, with support from both Democrats and Republicans. But a similar effort in the House has stalled, dismissed by skeptical Republicans, who hold the majority in that chamber.
Last week, Republican leaders in the House released a set of immigration principles, sparking a hope that legislation might move forward this year. Such a rosy outlook seemed overly optimistic on Thursday, when House Speaker John Boehner said "there's widespread doubt about whether this administration can be trusted to enforce our laws.” Without that trust, immigration reform would have a tough road, he said.
Labrador echoed those comments. He also spoke about a recent story published by Roll Call, which wrongly portrayed him as predicting the end of Boehner’s speakership if an immigration bill came to the floor of the House.
The story originally ran with the headline “Tea Party Member Predicts Boehner Will Lose Gavel,” but was revised after a review by the publication’s editorial leadership.
Ramos pressed Labrador about whether he said Boehner should lose his post for bringing immigration reform to a vote.
“I said that if he doesn’t follow the will of the conference, that he would lose his post,” Labrador said. “And as he indicated this week, he is going to follow the will of the conference, which is to wait for the president to show that he can actually be trusted on immigration.”
“Did you actually call the newsroom of Roll Call to have them change the headline?” Ramos asked.
“Did I call them? Yeah, because they were wrong. And they wrote a three-page document showing why they were wrong about what they said.”
Ted Hesson was formerly the immigration editor at Fusion, covering the issue from Washington, D.C. He also writes about drug laws and (occasionally) baseball. On the side: guitars, urban biking, and fiction.