POLITICS: PennAve

Obama, John Boehner talked immigration in Oval Office meeting

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Politics,White House,Immigration,Barack Obama,John Boehner,PennAve,Meghashyam Mali

The White House on Thursday said that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, discussed immigration reform during their recent meeting but declined to say if the leaders had made any progress on long-delayed legislation.

“I can certainly confirm that immigration was one of the topics they discussed,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney.

Obama and Boehner met in the Oval Office on Tuesday for an hourlong meeting.

Carney, though, refused to characterize the tone of their discussion on immigration, saying only that “there is broad agreement that this is an issue that needs to be addressed.”

“We've seen that in the steps that Speaker Boehner and Republican leaders have taken this year,” said Carney. “And I think that stands in contrast with the positions and steps they took previously when the operating sort of approach to immigration reform was self-deportation.”

Immigration reform is one of Obama's top priorities. A bipartisan measure passed in the Senate last summer, but legislation has stalled amid opposition in the GOP-controlled House.

Conservatives oppose measures that would grant legal status to illegal immigrants already in the country, calling such proposals amnesty. Republicans say they will address immigration reform piecemeal, beginning with a focus on border security.

House GOP leaders earlier this month unveiled their principles for reform, which included legalized status for children and tougher border security.

But Boehner last week quickly pulled the plug on immigration reform this year, saying it was unlikely before the midterms.

Republican leaders want to keep the focus on the economy and health care reform ahead of the midterms and believe immigration, which splits the caucus, could be a harmful distraction.

Boehner in explaining why immigration reform would not move this year blamed Obama, saying that GOP lawmakers did not trust him to enforce border measures, citing the administration's repeated delays of Obamacare regulations and the president's use of executive actions to push his agenda.

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