House Speaker John Boehner got an unexpected breakfast visit from two young girls affected by America's "broken immigration system" this morning. The visit seems to have been orchestrated by policy organization Change Nation, which posted the video to Youtube. The two girls, whose parents are undocumented immigrants, pleaded with Boehner to move the Senate's bipartisan immigration bill forward. Boehner responded, "Well, I'm trying to find some way to get this thing done. It's, you know, not easy."
Thirteen-year-old Carmen Lima of Arizona starts out by asking the speaker, "How would you feel if you had to tell your kids at the age of 10 that you were never coming home?" Boehner's clearly aware that he's being filmed and tries not to engage too much, responding "that wouldn't be good." Lima shoots back, "That's what happened to me." Change Nation notes that Lima hasn't seen her father since she was 10.
Boehner's in a tough spot. House Republicans have made it very clear that they don't want to take up the Senate's Gang of Eight bill, especially not this year. To move on the Senate proposal, Boehner would have to break out the Hastert Rule. If history is any indication, immigration reform isn't a dire enough cause for Boehner to do that. Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, who is potentially a presidential candidate and would therefore need Latino votes, told the Des Moines Register on Wednesday, "When we get to it... it's not extremely clear." Maybe this year, maybe next.
A majority of Americans support some kind of immigration reform, and many in the GOP see it as a key issue to help broaden appeal to minority voters. But after President Obama "won" the government shutdown battle, House Republicans have no interest in passing what would be a legacy bill for Obama.
Sixteen-year-old Jennifer Martinez pleads at the end of the video, "I'd really, really appreciate it if you pushed and did whatever was in your power to move this bill forward." Boehner responds as he's salting his breakfast, "Alright, I agree with you."