Boehner: Immigration Reform ‘Almost Impossible’ as Obama Has ‘Poisoned the Well’

‘He’s stirred up the American people in such a way that it would almost be impossible to do immigration reform, given the environment that we’re dealing with’

DICKERSON: “Let me talk about some policy issues here. Coming out of this debate about immigration and the comments Donald Trump has made and this horrible shooting in San Francisco of the young woman, there's been talk about localities that don't enforce federal immigration laws. Is there going to be any legislation coming up that would force localities to enforce federal immigration laws?”

BOEHNER: “We're looking at this. But these are laws. They are on the books. They are required to be enforced. There's no ifs, ands or buts here. And the fact is that some cities have decided to ignore the law is wrong. It's flat-out wrong.”

DICKERSON: “This is the so-called issue of sanctuary cities.”

BOEHNER: “Sanctuary cities.”

DICKERSON: “But what those cities would say and what others would say is, they're overrun because there's been no federal answer to the immigration problem. The Senate passed the bill. It came over to the House and House leaders didn't do anything on immigration all of last year, so nothing's been done at the federal level and they're overrun by that.”

BOEHNER: “John, I have been trying to do immigration reform for four years. But the president said 22 times that he didn't have the authority to do what he eventually did. And what the president has done is, he's poisoned the well. He's stirred up the American people in such a way that it would almost be impossible to do immigration reform, given the environment that we're dealing with. I want to do immigration reform. And the president knows it. I asked the president about a year ago, gave him some ideas of things that should happen if you want to do immigration reform and some things that he shouldn't do. Well, the president didn't take my advice. And he doubled down on these executive orders that frankly far exceeded his authority, and the courts have got him stopped, but he's really poisoned the well.”

DICKERSON: “But here is an alternative explanation that I have heard from people in your own party, that last year you had a good run and a good shot to beat the Democrats in the election. And people in your party who had been elected and also strategists said, let's not talk about immigration. It's going to cause a huge civil war in the Republican Party. It will cause us to be distracted by our own problems when we want to keep attacking the Democrats. Wasn't that a reason it didn't pass, too?”

BOEHNER: “No, not at all. Two things happened. The majority leader at the time lost his primary election, and some of our members thought it had something to do with immigration reform. And, secondly, if you go back a year from today, you had this flood of kids coming across the border. It was on every TV every night. And between the two, the window for doing immigration reform last summer dissipated. But this issue needs to be dealt with. It's become a political football that's been around now for some 15 years. And it is not going to get solved until the president gets serious and Congress gets serious about resolving it.”

DICKERSON: “Couldn't you just -- why not just send him a bill? Make him veto it.”

BOEHNER: “I don't think there's that big of a difference in terms of how to reform our immigration laws. There's been a lot of bipartisan work done on this for years. I want to do it.”

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