GREENWOOD VILLAGE | Aurora Representative Mike Coffman said he thinks the Republican-controlled House of Representatives can move forward on comprehensive immigration this summer, although he doesn’t support the omnibus immigration package passed out of the U.S. Senate last year. The Washington Post reported April 25 that Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, mocked House Republicans on their inability to pass immigration reform.
“We get elected to make choices,” Boehner said, according to the Washington Post. “We get elected to solve problems, and it’s remarkable to me how many of my colleagues just don’t want to … They’ll take the path of least resistance.”
“I disagree with the Senate bill,” Coffman said April 25. “What Boehner has said, and I agree with, is that a comprehensive approach doesn’t have to be a comprehensive bill. We’re going to do step-by-step approach with individual bills on individual subject matters. The subject that I’ve taken up is on the military, but that’s certainly not the end all on immigration reform.”
Coffman said he doesn’t support a special path to citizenship for adults in the country who knowingly illegally immigrated to the country, contrary to one of the Senate bill’s main tenants and a contentious topic between Republicans and Democrats. Coffman is pushing is his Military Enlistment Opportunity Act, a proposal that would allow undocumented minors a path to citizenship through the military. That proposal would allow enlistees who have received Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals status a path to citizenship through military service. Currently, to enlist in the military, immigrants must be permanent residents with a green card. Coffman didn’t support the executive order creating DACA last year, but he said he supports the program — just not the way it was created by President Barack Obama.
Democratic representatives have praised Coffman’s effort on immigration.
“Mike Coffman has proven he is a leader in Congress on the issue of immigration,” Representative Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said in a statement. “He is one of the people who can work with colleagues in both political parties and specifically, he and I have worked on building consensus for a pathway to citizenship through military service for undocumented individuals brought into the United States as children.”
Passing any sort of reform may be tough in the House this year with or without Boehner.
“I support comprehensive immigration reform, and I’m among the few in my party that did. It is a struggle within the Republican Party,” Coffman said. “I think at the end of the day, there’s going to be a middle path. And in my view, we need to come up with a permanent solution that we’re not, 20 or 30 years from now, wringing our hands again and saying, ‘We have a broken immigration system.’”