Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) was confronted about House inaction on immigration reform at his weekly press conference Thursday by the country’s most prominent Hispanic journalist, Jorge Ramos, in what proved to be a tense exchange.
“Mr. Speaker, we came here to ask you, why are you blocking immigration reform?” said Ramos, a TV anchor for the Spanish-language Univision and for Fusion.
Boehner responded, “Me? Blocking?” and laughed.
“Yes, you personally. Yeah, you could bring it to a vote and you haven’t,” Ramos said.
Boehner retreated to his position that he has repeatedly spoken about the need for immigration reform and reiterated that the House won’t consider the Senate-passed overhaul but rather a “piece-by-piece” approach to reform. He again placed the blame on President Barack Obama, saying he’s “ignor[ing]” the law and needs to build trust, citing his revisions to Obamacare.
Ramos, who frequently speaks out for immigration reform, wasn’t having any of it. “What does Obamacare have to do with immigration reform?” he demanded. “The Senate passed it almost a year ago and you haven’t moved on that. Many people are questioning your leadership and your vision on this.”
When the Speaker didn’t budge, saying there’s “nobody more interested” in passing immigration reform than he is, Ramos again pressed.
“You can do it. You haven’t done it,” he said. “You can do it, Mr. Speaker. You can do it and you really haven’t done it.”
Boehner replied: “I appreciate your opinion. Thank you.”
The Senate passed a comprehensive immigration overhaul in June 2013 and Boehner, who controls what legislation comes up in the House, has taken a large share of the blame from advocates for the lower chamber’s inaction on the issue.
Watch the exchange, which begins at 49:10 in the video below.