Speaker John Boehner has announced the hiring of Rebecca Tallent to serve as immigration advisor in his Speaker's office. Tallent worked as a staffer and later as Chief of Staff for Sen. John McCain. She left McCain's office earlier this year to become the immigration policy director for the Bipartisan Policy Center where she also chaired the organization's immigration task force.
Tallent helped draft amnesty bills for Sen. McCain in the mid-2000s and, in her role at the Bipartisan Policy Center, helped develop an immigration framework that includes an amnesty for illegal aliens and massive increases in legal immigration. Her new appointment in Speaker Boehner's office is most likely a signal that he is laying the ground work to pass massive immigration reforms in 2014.
"It shows that Speaker Boehner remains committed to the corporate lobbies' quest for more foreign workers to hold down the wages of their American workers," NumbersUSA President Roy Beck said. "His new hire has done almost nothing the last decade except work for giant increases in foreign labor. But Boehner still has to persuade at least 118 Republican House Members that their constituents would be okay with an expansion of immigration during the seventh year of high unemployment."
In a statement from his press secretary, Speaker Boehner reiterated his commitment to passing immigration reform this Congress.
"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," Speaker Boehner's spokesman Michael Steel said. "Becky Tallent, a well-known expert in this field of public policy, is a great addition to our team and that effort."
In an interview on Bloomberg television moments after the Senate passed the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill, Tallent offered a blueprint for moving immigration through the Republican-led House.
Probably what we're going to see come through the House is a number of piecemeal bills like you've seen them marking up in the Judiciary Committee. Then you will see a process, what they call, they can engross the bills. They can take them and roll them into one bill and then take that to a conference with an engrossed Senate bill, so all the little pieces put together into one big bill. Basically, the result would be their comprehensive bill. ...
In theory, you would come out with a conference report that would need one up or down vote. You would put the House of Representatives, especially the Republicans, in a position, they may only vote on the legalization one time.
-- Rebecca Tallent, Bloomberg TV, June 24, 2013
The Bipartisan Immigration Task Force that Tallent chaired recommends granting amnesty to illegal aliens and calls for increases to employment-based green cards as well as temporary guest workers. The report does not address family-based green cards or chain migration.
Tallent was supportive of the bipartisan effort made in the Senate and has continued to call for comprehensive immigration reform since the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill passed. She has an active Twitter account and has often used it as a way to spread pro-amnesty articles and op-eds.
Just last month, she penned her own op-ed where she illustrated what had to happen for comprehensive immigration reform to pass in the House.
If Republicans in the House are going to pass immigration reform, they will need to be sold on the policy and its merits, not on the politics of reform. Unfortunately, many advocates are finding themselves ill-equipped to make the case to Republicans. One advocate, who has been working on immigration reform for years, said recently that the problem with the advocacy movement is that they never had a real working relationship with Republicans and therefore don't know how to even discuss reform with them. They use the same pressure tactic as they would with Democrats and it just isn't working.
-- Rebecca Talent, "Immigration reform: the politics of the possible", Nov. 6, 2013
With her experience as a GOP advisor and on the immigration issue, Speaker Boehner is hoping Tallent is just the person to sell House Republicans on amnesty.
CHRIS CHMIELENSKI is the Director of Content & Activism for NumbersUSA
Updated: Tue, Dec 3rd 2013 @ 4:47pm EST