When Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner announced that he would resign from the Congress effective at the end of October, immigration policy observers reacted in different ways. Some pro-immigrant groups heralded the end to the Speaker’s tenure, citing his role in shutting down immigration reform in 2013. Others expressed trepidation about the future. Pro-immigrant politicians and liberal pundits called on Boehner to bring back the legislation, now that he has little to fear in terms of a backlash from conservative Republicans.

Freshman Senator and presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-Florida) welcomed the announcement saying that the House was overdue for new leadership.

"The time has come to turn the page and allow a new generation of leadership in this country," said Rubio, according to Suzanne Gamboa of NBC News.

Marco Rubio was one of the Gang of Eight who authored a comprehensive immigration reform bill in 2013 that passed in the Senate. Supporters of the bill said that it was a bipartisan compromise that would have passed in the house as well.

President Obama was willing to work with the House Republicans in order to get broad based immigration reform past into law. Boehner too wanted the House to pass comprehensive immigration reform, says Charles Foster, an immigration law expert who served as a policy adviser to former President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama. He is chairman and founder of Global, an immigration law firm.

“Speaker John Boehner both in private and publicly always recognized the critical need for the Republican House to support broad based comprehensive immigration reform,” said Foster in an email to the Latin Times.

Yet Boehner prevented the 2013 bill from coming to a vote after conservative members of his party objected to a key portion of the bill that would create a pathway to citizenship for immigrants in the country illegally. The breakthrough in the deal angered pro-immigrant groups.

“Boehner’s resignation follows years of Congressional inaction on commonsense immigration reform that starved our economy and tore families apart,” says Hector Figueroa, president of the SEIU, a union coalition that advocates for immigration reform, in a statement to the Latin Times.

Figuera says Republicans should consider electing a speaker that can better reach out to Latino voters on the immigration issue.

“Republicans have a chance to gain the vote of mainstream America and that of the fastest growing bloc of voters—Latinos—or continue to lead their party into national irrelevancy,” he said.

Boehner’s departure is likely to spark a renewed battle among congressional Republicans. On one side, the Tea Party caucus may fight for an immigration hardliner. On the other side, moderate Republican may want to resolve the immigration issue ahead of the 2016 elections.

Will Boehner Pass Immigration Reform Next Week?

“If [comprehensive immigration] came to a vote, we would have the immigration fight behind us going into this presidential election, leaving only the racists to talk about it,” Left-leaning MSNBC host Chris Matthews said on Friday .

Matthews called on Boehner to resuscitate the 2013 comprehensive immigration reform package and bring it to the floor in his last week, now that the prospect him him getting fired as speaker is not an issue.

Foster says that such a move would guarantee a legacy for the outgoing Speaker.

“At different times I thought Boehner might have ‘fallen on his sword’ and allow a good piece of immigration reform legislation to pass with the help of Democratic votes, but he knew that would have cost his speakership,” Foster says, adding “At this point his only play is going for the history books.”

Boehner said on Friday that he would not do his job any differently over the next five weeks, when he plans to resign from Congress all together.

How A Government Shutdown Could Affect Immigration Policy

“Without question, the House is under siege and in disarray. As Speaker of the House, Mr. Boehner realized that the Tea Party element in the House wanted to oust him from his speakership for a multitude of reasons including his views on immigration,” said José Pérez, also an immigration attorney at Foster.

How will the speaker use his last five weeks in office?

Immigrant right groups say that the threat of a government shutdown may be an excuse to push through anti-immigrant legislation. A similar measure was attempted in March, when the Tea Party caucus threatened to restrict DHS funding if Obama did not rescind executive actions on immigration.

“The immigrants’ rights community will be watching the legislative process very carefully, particularly in coming weeks, as Congress negotiates legislation to continue funding the government. Those bills are where attacks against immigrants and the poor are often slipped in,” said Marielena Hincapié, executive director of National Immigration Law Center.

It’s likely that those types of leverage bills will be aimed at Planned Parenthood, instead of or in addition to immigration-related legislation.

Will the Speaker set the table for a battle over Planned Parenthood? Will he let immigration reform go to the floor? Given that he decided to resign this morning following meetings with Pope Francis yesterday, anything is possible.