August is the deadline for the U.S. House to pass immigration legislation, according to U.S. Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart a leader in the effort to develop immigration reform that has a chance of passing.
“The legislative process in essence, frankly, has to work on deadlines. There’s a deadline,” Diaz-Balart told CQ Roll Call at the Congressional Hispanic Leadership Institute’s awards celebration on Thursday.
“And the deadline is that if we don’t get it done by August it doesn’t happen,” he added. “If Congress doesn’t act by the August break, the president is going to do something. And once that happens, two things happen.
“No. 1 is that the possibility of any further negotiations — of any — disintegrate.”
The Florida Republican said if there is executive action on immigration, the president will “create a narrative of his choosing and again creating a situation where no further negotiations are possible.”
In April, Diaz-Balart told CQ Roll Call that lawmakers developed a policy to address concerns about border security and the 11 million undocumented immigrants.
“So I feel optimistic that we’re going get it done because I think most people in the House understand that what we have is unacceptable,” he said, repeating “if we don’t get it done by this August, it just doesn’t get done.”
Although optimistic, Diaz-Balart warned that immigration overhaul still faces a tough road to pass the House. However, he said he “wouldn’t be working this hard at it if I didn’t think there was a legitimate chance of getting it done.”
Diaz-Balart would not say if the Republican House leadership were open to his plan, but he did admit that he had “spoken to everybody.”
Pressure to tackle immigration policy is growing for both Democrats and Republicans.
About 250 protestors marched on the White House Friday afternoon to persuade the president to reject the “detention bed quota” requiring 34,000 immigrants to be confined to detention centers. A dozen people were arrested last week outside of the White House, part of a rally against deportations involving approximately 1,500 protesters.
Diaz-Balart’s confidence comes at an uncertain time for immigration overhaul, Bowman writes. Some say immigration could be addressed in 2014, and Boehner told House Republicans there is no “conspiracy” to address immigration without GOP support.