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Boehner Hires McCain's Immigration Expert. A Good Sign for Reform? By Roger Algase

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Update, December 4, 10:40 pm:


And here is a more cynical possibility. Could Boehner's hiring a key staffer with such a pro-immigrant reputation be meant purely as window dressing, or as a bone to pro-reform advocates, while he continues his do-nothing policies toward reform? In this interpretation, FAIR's angry tirade against Tallent might have been staged managed in order to help insulate Boehner against criticism from the pro-immigrant forces.

But probably I may be reading too much into all of this.

Update, December 4, 5:25 pm:


Judging by the vitriolic email from FAIR which Greg Siskind quotes in his December 4 Immigration Daily blogging, my comment that the anti-immigrant lobby would be apoplectic over John Boehner's hiring of Rebecca Tallent, John McCain's former immigration reform point person, appears to have been accurate.

I hope that my expectation that Boehner will stand his ground and keep her in this new position will also turn out to be accurate. I very much doubt that FAIR's email will be the last time that America's right wing bigots will be attacking Tallent.

To the contrary, it may the opening salvo in a protracted war aimed at intimidating the Speaker, whose anxiety to protect whatever is left of his right wing is well known, into firing her.

My original post follows:

Could House Speaker John Boehner be preparing a Christmas surprise for immigration reform advocates? Politico's Seung Min Kim reports that the Speaker has hired a new immigration policy staffer, Rebecca Tallent, currently the director of immigration policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Kim also reports that Tallent is a former chief of staff to Senator John McCain and was his point person on immigration policy during the last major immigration reform effort in 2007.

Meanwhile Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-Mass), grandson of Robert Kennedy and great nephew of Ted Kennedy, is joining the immigration reform fast on the National Mall.

For both of her stories, see Politico: Rep. Joe Kennedy joins immigration fast (December 3).

I suspect that the kill reform, deport 'em all Tea Party/Heritage Action crowd will be apoplectic over the announcement that Boehner is hiring McCain's former top immigration aide. I wouldn't be surprised if we see some explanations by Boehner in the next few days that Tallent will just "one of many" staff members involved in immigration, and that no one should "read too much" into the fact that she has been hired.

Nor would it be out of character if there were behind the scenes right wing efforts to get Boehner to dump Tallent, or at least demote her after she begins work on December 4.

One hopes not, but if there are any such efforts, it could be a good sign for reform, perhaps the most positive sign since last June, if Boehner holds fast to his decision to give Tallent this critically important responsibilty.

Hiring Tallent might also mean that the dedication and determination of the brave pro-reform fast participants are having some effect.

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Updated 12-04-2013 at 09:46 PM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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