Last week’s news that Speaker of the House John Boehner had appointed a new adviser on immigration issues deserved the A1, above-the-fold treatment it received from The Arizona Republic. This was no ordinary hiring.
Boehner naming Rebecca Tallent is not only a great pickup of someone who knows firsthand the challenges of immigration reform; it’s a sign that the speaker is serious about making something happen on immigration in 2014. Naysayers contend that an election year precludes any significant immigration action, but Boehner has said that immigration reform is not dead, and he’s backing that claim up by assembling the right team.
Becky most recently headed up immigration issues for the Bipartisan Policy Center, a respected policy shop pushing commonsense reforms across various issue areas. But Arizona knows Becky as an alumnus of the offices former Rep. Jim Kolbe and Sen. John McCain. She knows the history of this issue better than most, having devoted much of her professional life to crafting practicable immigration solutions.
Becky also has insight into the unique issues facing border states like Arizona. She understands that reform without security upgrades along our borders isn’t likely to get very far. Her border perspective should also help our land border ports of entry get increased attention as the legislative conversation continues.
The immigration package the U.S. Senate passed earlier this year is not going to get passed by the House without getting sliced and diced, likely into several smaller bills. But that’s okay. The House has different pressure points and it’s perfectly acceptable for that body to assemble its own legislation. But the speaker of the House is putting the right pieces in place to get a deal done.