John Boehner talks with reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, July 23, 2014, following a Republican strategy session.
Photo by J. Scott Applewhite/AP

John Boehner’s ultimatum: Change 2008 law or else


House Speaker John Boehner gave President Barack Obama an ultimatum on the border crisis: Secure the border or you’re not getting any money.

In a letter to President Obama on Wednesday afternoon, Boehner said the House will not authorize the president’s request for emergency funds unless there are changes to the 2008 human trafficking law that allows immigrants from non-contiguous countries to seek asylum in the U.S., the law Republicans believe is at the root of the surge of immigrants, often minors, fleeing Central America into the United States.

“As I have said many times, the American people will not support providing additional money unless you work with both parties to address the causes of this tragedy,” Boehner wrote.

The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell, 7/23/14, 10:00 PM ET

House GOP all talk on the border crisis?

With just eight days before Congress leaves for its August recess, Speaker Boehner will not commit to putting legislation up for a vote.
The president requested $3.7 billion in emergency funds late last month, arguing that the cash could help the government “move migrants through the system faster.”

But now Boehner says he’s flip-flopped because the president didn’t put any border reforms into his funding request and because Democrats allegedly won’t allow any changes to that 2008 law.

Senate Democrats have already cut $1 billion from the president’s request, and House Republicans want to cut even more, but Boehner’s ultimatum could prevent any funding getting through to help the tens of thousands of children who are flooding immigration detention centers and overwhelming border towns and the immigration infrastructure.

The president has remained vague on what changes to the 2008 legislation he’d support, even as his party has skewered calls for reversing the law, and Republicans have seized on this disparity. 

“A few weeks ago, the president made some modest policy recommendations that should be part of any legislation to deal with this crisis. Unfortunately, the far left objected, and he’s since wobbled,” Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday, according to The Hill.

“Frankly, it is difficult to see how we can make progress on this issue without strong, public support from the White House for much-needed reforms, including changes to the 2008 law,” Boehner concludes.