Boehner on ‘Comprehensive’ Immigration Reform: ‘On An Issue This Big, the President Has to Lead’

By Elizabeth Harrington | November 9, 2012 | 2:45 PM EST

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio). (AP)

( – Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) said “it’s time to get the job done” when it comes to comprehensive immigration reform, and that President Barack Obama has to take the helm.

“On an issue this big, the president has to lead,” Boehner told reporters during a Capitol Hill press briefing on Friday.  “I think members on both sides of the aisle want to resolve this issue.”

“The president’s going to have to lead here,” said Boehner.

The top Republican in the House was repeating his comments that a “comprehensive approach” to immigration is long overdue, which he had made in an interview with ABC’s “World News with Diane Sawyer” on Thursday.

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“It’s an important issue that I think ought to be dealt with,” he said.  “This issue has been around far too long and while I believe it’s important for us to secure our borders and to enforce our laws, I think a comprehensive approach is long overdue, and I’m confident that the president, myself, others, can find the common ground to take care of this issue once and for all.”

During the briefing on Friday, a reporter asked Boehner about his remarks:  “I just wanted to get back to your comments last night on immigration.  You spoke optimistically about the chances of immigration reform. When you said comprehensive immigration reform, are you endorsing a pathway to citizenship?”

“Well, I’m not talking about a 3,000-page bill,” the Speaker said.  “What I’m talking about is a common sense, step-by-step approach that would secure our borders, allow us to enforce the laws and fix a broken immigration system.”

“But are you endorsing a pathway to citizenship?” Boehner was then asked.

“I’m not going to get into any of the details of how you would get there,” he said, “it’s just time to get the job done.”

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