"We all come from somewhere else. Immigrants are a part of the fabric of America."
"The sky didn't fall when I won my legal status during the last immigration reform of 1986 and the sky will not fall when we pass this immigration reform."
It would still represent a major victory for immigrants, labor and the working class. It would grant legal status to most undocumented, including some who have already been ordered to depart.
The amendment would prevent any of the immigrants legalized under S 744 from achieving permanent legal status until certain requirements are met.
While the Senate debates the immigration bill, labor and community activists in northern California charge that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency continues to require local employers to fire hundreds of workers, saying they have no immigration papers.
Boehner's statement is important because it gives his 234-member caucus a virtual veto over what Congress does, regardless of the Senate.
The SAFE Act has harsh features including criminalizing, at the misdemeanor level, the mere act of being in the country without authorization.
On June 13, the House of Representatives voted on a mostly partisan line to prevent the Obama administration from giving undocumented immigrants brought here as children a break.
President Obama insisted the "moment is now" to give 11 million immigrants in the U.S. without documents a chance at citizenship.
Sister Simone Campbell was upbeat on the possibility of meaningful immigration reform.