In June, the Senate passed a comprehensive reform bill by a wide margin, which it promptly presented to the House.
A Longer Wait
The Senate bill would have provided many reforms necessary to alleviate a worker shortage that extends from U.S. farms to the manicured enclaves of Silicon Valley.
Among other things, the bill would have offered a path to citizenship for thousands of undocumented farm workers necessary to cultivate U.S. farmland. Similarly, it would have helped foreign students who often spend years or decades in the U.S. earning costly advanced degrees, but then are confronted with a long, involved citizenship process that doesn't always guarantee their ability to stay in the U.S.
Immigration reform has fairly broad support from groups ranging from Democrats and some influential Republicans to corporate executives and religious leaders.
House Republicans, some political experts theorize, are staying away from the controversy involved with immigration reform following the unpopular government shutdown they staged in October for two weeks.
The House also has a lot on its plate with the coming budget and debt-ceiling debates, which were only temporarily settled in October.
Boehner said he won't put an immigration bill before the House until immigration "principles" are mapped out for representatives more clearly.
"I want to deal with this in a common sense, step by step way," Boehner said.