Sept. 20, 2013 -- The chances of comprehensive immigration reform becoming a reality in the near future are increasingly unlikely.
The group of lawmakers working on the issue in the House of Representatives shrank to five today after Rep. John Carter (R-TX) and Sam Johnson (R-TX) pulled out of the bipartisan gang of seven.
“After years of hard work and countless meetings, we have reached a tipping point and can no longer continue working on a broad approach to immigration,” they wrote in a statement.
They blamed President Obama for “unilaterally” disregarding the Constitution, and said that beginning with Obamacare, the “administration has changed, waived or delayed key provisions with a single stroke of a pen.”
The announcement comes just after Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a key player in the negotiations, told The Washington Post that the group was unlikely to produce a bill “anytime soon.”
“The bipartisan group just wasn’t getting support from Republican House leadership,” he said, “It’s just not gonna happen now.”
The House group had said it would announce a plan in the fall. The plan, although more conservative than the Senate bill, would have offered a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
Gutierrez told the Post the group could not agree on a final plan because House Republican leaders were not offering their support.
While immigration reform could move forward with a series of individual bills, focused on border security, or a path to citizenship for DREAMers, it’s not clear those bills would gain traction with the majority of Republicans in the House.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) echoed Gutierrez’ remarks in her own statement.
“In the end, it’s the Republican leadership that must make a decision on whether they intend to allow the current broken immigration system to continue as it is, or whether they will allow the House to vote on reform,” she said. “I continue to be hopeful that Republican leaders will schedule votes on serious reform measures that aren’t host to known poison pills. It can be done.”
Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida is now the lone Republican in the dwindling gang. Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), chairman of the House Democratic Caucus and a member of the group, offered praise to both Johnson and Carter in a statement and said he had “learned much” from them, but said he was saddened the group is at “an impasse.” He also added, that this “does not diminish the need” for reform.
“Today there exists a majority in the House of both Democrats and Republicans in support of fixing our broken immigration system,” he said. “But it takes more than voicing support, it takes a vote. And we need Speaker Boehner to give us a vote. No more excuses, no more delays – it’s time to vote.”
ABC News’ John Parkinson contributed reporting.