Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, announced this morning he will resign from Congress at the end of October. The Speaker leaves behind a long history of pressing his caucus to legalize illegal aliens and increase already historically-high legal immigration levels. This, and his lack of interest in fighting President Obama’s executive amnesties, led to some of the biggest clashes within the House Republican Caucus.
Staying through October will allow Boehner to preside over the budget votes for next year and give Republicans a chance to choose a new Speaker. His announcement comes just one day after he hosted Pope Francis’ address to Congress.
In retrospect, although Speaker Boehner refused to bring the Senate-passed comprehensive amnesty bill to the House floor, he repeatedly backed immigration changes that would legalize illegal aliens and increase legal immigration, especially for foreign nationals with experience in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields. His caucus pushed back every time, however, knowing the views of constituents, especially those who were roundly discarded by employers seeking cheaper foreign labor.
In 2014, Boehner said he was "hell-bent" on completing immigration reform that year, but progress depended on "bringing my members along." He proposed a piecemeal approach to change, rather than so-called comprehensive immigration reform, but the end product would have been the same disaster for American workers. His members turned him down.
In the previous Congress Boehner refused to bring to the floor the Judiciary Committee-passed mandatory E-Verify bill even though it had been endorsed by most of the large business lobbying groups, as well as by NumbersUSA. That bill alone would have done much to turn the tide of illegal immigration.
Boehner had several opportunities to fight President Obama's executive amnesties and anti-enforcement policies through the power of the purse. At the behest of his members, Boehner oversaw passage of legislation to defund the measures but later quickly caved when a Republican-led Senate objected.
His caucus called for a response to the surge of illegal-alien minors and families over the border, but Boehner responded with legislation that would not have overturned Obama's catch-and-release policies. The weak measure never became law, and Boehner ultimately agreed to fund Obama's plan to allow the surge aliens to seek asylum.
Boehner also helped move Trade Promotion Authority for President Obama, a protocol that makes it harder to defeat trade pacts with immigration increases that hurt American workers.
In the wake of his retirement announcement, pro-illegal alien groups are calling for Boehner to allow a vote on a legalization bill. Boehner responded saying, “I’m going to make the same decisions I would have made regardless of this.” The Washington Times argues it would be difficult for Boehner to arrange such a vote given the press of business between now and the end of October. Let’s hope so.
VAN ESSER is the Chief of Membership Services for NumbersUSA
Updated: Wed, Oct 11th 2017 @ 3:20pm EDT