House Republican Leader John Boehner said Arizona's tough new immigration law is the result of federal government inaction on the issue, but said there's "not a chance" Congress will pass immigration legislation this year.
"We ought to have an immigration reform move through congress" Boehner said at this weekly press conference, "but you can't do immigration reform in the middle of a boiling, political pot here in Washington, D.C."
Boehner said that Senator Charles Schumer's (D-NY) effort to get GOP backing on an immigration bill is "nothing more than a cynical ploy to try to engage voters-some segment of voters- to show up in this November's elections."
Meanwhile, reporters pressed Boehner on whether he supports the Arizona policy that would allow law enforcement to question someone if they have reason to believe that person might be an illegal immigrant. Boehner just defended the state's right to pass its own laws saying the "people of Arizona have a right to pass their laws under the tenth amendment."
So what do House Republicans propose should be done at the federal level? Boehner said Congress must "take the steps that we know we have to take first and that's securing the border and enforcing the law."
Boehner did not directly respond to a question about what Republicans would do about illegal immigrants already living in the United States. He said that what Americans really want Congress to act on is jobs.
"These other issues that people want to pop up and make into some issue it's not where the American people are," he said.
For all Boehner's insistence that immigration reform won't pass this year, Senate Democrats are moving forward. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who's facing a tough reelection in Nevada this year, just announced a press conference later this afternoon where Democrats will unveil their framework for comprehensive immigration reform and call on Republicans to come to the negotiating table.
More on the immigration debate:
Illegal Immigrants Leaving Arizona Over New Law
Obama: Congress May Not Tackle Immigration Soon
Bill Clinton on Immigration
Fury over Immigrant Law
Washington Unplugged: Politics of Immigration Fight
How Arizona Became Center of Immigration Debate
Holder: U.S. May Fight Arizona Immigration Law