- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 4, 2014

House Speaker John A. Boehner said Tuesday that he still hasn’t decided whether to move forward with immigration bills this year, saying the timing remains a hot topic within the GOP.

Mr. Boehner released principles at a GOP retreat last week that embraced border security and legalization for most illegal immigrants, with younger illegal immigrants also having a specific new pathway to citizenship.

On Tuesday, the Ohio Republican said House Republicans were “rather supportive” of the principles, but said the next steps remain murky.

“There was a lot of discussion about whether we should proceed and if we proceeded how we would proceed,” he said, adding that there’s full agreement on border security coming first. “We’re continuing to take comments from members about the draft principles, continuing the conversation that we started last Thursday. No decisions have been made.”

Immigrant-rights advocates and congressional Democrats had hoped that the long-awaited release of principles would be the beginning of a process that would result in the House passing a bill or series of bills which could then be matched up with the Senate’s bill, resulting in final legislation.

But many Republicans remain wary of tackling immigration given polls that show the issue ranks low on most Americans’ priority lists.

In the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican who voted against that chamber’s bill in June, said he still doubts a bill gets done since the Senate has a massive bill that runs more than 1,100 pages, while House GOP leaders want to break the issue up into smaller bills.

“I don’t see how you get to an outcome this year with the two bodies in such a different place,” he said.

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