House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), who proclaimed that immigration reform was “absolutely not” dead, hired an adviser on Tuesday who had helped Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) push comprehensive immigration reform.
Boehner’s hiring of Rebecca Tallent “signals” that he may want a pathway to citizenship provision for all of the country’s illegal immigrants, which the Congressional Budget Office determined would lower the wages of working class Americans, to pass as a part of a series of immigration bills.
“The speaker remains hopeful that we can enact step-by-step, common-sense immigration reforms — the kind of reforms the American people understand and support,” a Boehner spokesman said. “Becky Tallent, a well-known expert in this field of public policy, is a great addition to our team and that effort.”
Recently, President Barack Obama has repeatedly said that he would be okay with immigration reform being broken up into various pieces so long as all the pieces pass. McCain, who along with Sens. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wrote the Senate’s comprehensive immigration reform bill that passed earlier this year, has indicated that proponents of amnesty would make a final push for immigration reform sometime next spring after the Republican primaries.
“Tallent’s hiring suggests he really does still want to push an amnesty through the House, which to me suggests that the immigration hawks still have their work cut out for them,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Times.
Ana Navarro, the establishment Republican best known for criticizing conservatives while pushing amnesty, hailed the move, telling the Times that the hiring tells her that Boehner is “looking to find solutions to some of the complex issues.”
“You don’t hire Becky Tallent if you don’t want to get something done. If all you want to do is kick the can down the road and just talk about the issue, you don’t hire Becky Tallent,” she said. “If you want to solve the issue, you hire Becky Tallent to work with you.”
Though Boehner and other House leaders have said they would not go to conference with the Senate on the exact Senate bill, they have not ruled out conferencing on smaller or different bills. Advocates of immigration reform, like Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), recently said his “Republican friends” have told him that they want to pass comprehensive immigration reform in everything but name only.