Paul Ryan (R-WI), the current frontrunner to the Speaker of the House position in Congress, signed a letter today announcing that he will not allow comprehensive immigration reform legislation to pass under President Obama.
According to his statement in the letter, Ryan will not allow any immigration bill to reach the floor for a vote unless a “majority” of GOP members support it. “There will be no comprehensive immigration reform under this president,” Ryan told the National Review.
The letter was directed to the House Freedom Caucus (HFC), a group of conservative congressional representatives. It formalizes a set of agreements made between Ryan and the Caucus during closed door negotiations to support Ryan for the Speaker position. HFC backed Ryan for the Speaker of the House position last week, unofficially solidifying his support among Republicans for the nomination.
This is the first public promise that Ryan has made in his bid for the speakership.
Reform advocates are not pleased with Ryan’s statement, but remain displeased with congressional conservatives as a whole for their outright rejection of reasonable immigration policy changes.
Ryan’s previous record on immigration stood more ambiguous than his more recent statements, angering many HFC conservatives. He supported 2013 bipartisan efforts to push an immigration bill with a pathway to amnesty, and until now has been unwilling to take hardline positions on immigration reform efforts.
Ryan’s statements or potential service as Speaker of the House would not affect President Obama’s executive actions on immigration made early last year, which have been stayed in legal proceedings until further judgement.