Immigration advocates heartened by new House Speaker hire

FLAGfffSupporters of immigration reform who are still furious over the failure to have legislation enacted in 2013 were given a ray of hope on Tuesday when John Boehner, the House of Representatives Speaker, announced the hiring of long-term immigration specialist Becky Tallent to help him.

“The speaker remains hopeful that we can enact step-by-step, common sense immigration reform,” says Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner.  “Becky Tallent, a well known expert in this field of public policy, is a great addition to our team and that effort.”  Tallent is the Bipartisan Policy Center’s director of immigration policy and has also worked as an aide to Republican Senator John McCain, who has become a key player in the ongoing debate over immigration reform.

McCain was one of the Gang of Eight who came up with the bipartisan immigration reform legislation that was passed by the Senate back in June, which included offering a path to US citizenship to the millions of undocumented immigrants who currently live and work in the country.  Tallent has also advised another Republican advocate of immigration reform, former Arizona Representative Jim Kolbe.

“She has deep knowledge and history with the issue and her hire, coming now in December, signals an expectation they’re (House Republicans) going to need her expertise,” notes Angela Kelley, the liberal Center for American Progress’ vice president of immigration policy.  Tallent has also been described as “effective” and “pragmatic” by Republican strategist Ana Navarro.