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Politics

Speaker John Boehner says immigration reform would help economy

John Boehner
House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.
(J. Scott Applewhite / Associated Press)

House Speaker John A. Boehner dipped back into the immigration debate Thursday, saying that an overhaul -- which his Republican majority has refused to vote on -- would boost the economy.

Although Boehner noticeably left immigration out of his “five points” economic speech, he acknowledged during questions afterward that it could have been included as an issue that offers economic benefit.

“I think immigration reform would help our economy,” Boehner said

“But you’ve got to secure the borders first. We’ve got a mess, and I think everybody knows we’ve got a mess. Our legal system is broken, our borders aren’t secure and then we’ve got the problem of those that are here without documents,” Boehner said. “It needs to be fixed. We are a nation of immigrants. The sooner we do it, the better the country would be.”

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Boehner flirted all year with the prospect of considering immigration reform, but he backed off after Republican lawmakers complained it might hurt them in the November election.

The House’s refusal to act after the Senate passed a bipartisan overhaul in 2013 led President Obama to promise to take executive action after the election to give legal status to some immigrants.

Republicans in the House, who are suing Obama for what they perceive as executive overreach, have warned the White House not to take action without Congress.

For the latest from Congress follow @LisaMascaroinDC

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