- The Washington Times - Friday, September 25, 2015

Immigrant-rights advocates scrambled Friday to plead with House Speaker John A. Boehner to bring an immigration legalization bill to the floor before he leaves office next month, fearing his replacement will show even more antipathy toward their agenda.

Mr. Boehner had long been pressing his party to tackle immigration, and in the days after President Obama’s 2012 re-election the Ohio Republican set one major goal: The House would pass a bill to legalize those in the country without authorization.

But House GOP conservatives threatened a revolt, and Mr. Boehner and his fellow leaders backed off, instead blaming President Obama for ruining chances for cooperation.

Now that he’s unshackled by the need to keep his own troops in line, immigration advocates said Mr. Boehner should try again, relying on Democrats to deliver the votes to pass a bill.

“There is no reason not to have a vote,” Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Illinois Democrat, said. “He should call a vote on immigration reform, and I think in my heart that Speaker Boehner would stand with us, with his country, and with the immigrant and Latino community.”

Such a move is unlikely, both because of the other issues Mr. Boehner will have to oversee between now and the end of October, when he will leave office, and because of continued opposition within the House GOP.

Indeed, Mr. Boehner’s perceived eagerness to work on immigration with Mr. Obama prodded some of the fiercest opposition within the House Republican Caucus, and some conservatives had said if Mr. Boehner had pursued a legalization bill he would have been tossed as speaker.

Speaking to reporters Friday afternoon, Mr. Boehner said nothing about his agenda would change.

“I’m going to make the same decisions I would have made regardless of this,” he said.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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