A 16-year-old immigration activist from Redmond High School was one of two girls who confronted House Speaker John Boehner over the issue of immigration reform as he tried to get breakfast on Capitol Hill Wednesday morning.
Jennifer Martinez, who is a U.S. citizen, is active in the OneAmerica Youth Program, which engages high school students across the Puget Sound region on immigration issues.
She and her companion, Carmen Lima, 13, of California, told Boehner that as a father he might understand what it’s like to be separated from his children, the way many undocumented immigrant parents are.
Boehner responded: “Well, I’m trying to find some way to get this thing done. It’s, uh, you know, not easy — not gonna be an easy path forward. But I’ve made it clear since the day after the election that it’s time to get this done.”
The video made its way quickly to national TV and the Internet.
Within hours of his conversation with the girls, Boehner told reporters at a Capitol Hill news conference: “I’ll make clear we have no intention of ever going to conference on the Senate bill,” referring to a sweeping immigration measure that was passed by the Senate this summer.
Immigrant advocates, religious and labor groups and employers have been trying to pressure Boehner to take up an immigration bill pending in the House and have been calling House Republicans, urging them to support it.
That bill, which would provide a path to citizenship for the more than 11 million unauthorized immigrants in this country, is similar to the one passed in the Senate.
U.S. Catholics across the country, and here in Washington state, are being encouraged to call their lawmakers Wednesday to ask for their support.
About 13 people were risking arrest outside the Spokane offices of Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, in an act of civil disobedience similar to one that led to last week’s arrest of 33 women who refused to leave the Bellevue offices of the Washington State Republican Party.