House Speaker John Boehner's new staffer in charge of immigration policy has significant experience in drafting immigration legislation and pushing for reform. She wouldn't be coming to Boehner's office if House Republicans weren't serious about doing something on the issue. What that is remains to be seen.
Rebecca Tallent, former chief of staff to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., will be coming to the speaker's office from the Bipartisan Policy Center, where she has served as director of immigration policy. Her move "is affirmation of [Boehner's] strong desire to move legislation in 2014," BPC's immigration task force cochairman, former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, said in a statement.
Tallent is a veteran of immigration fights and a big believer in reform, including a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. One of her early endeavors in negotiating legislation was 10 years ago, when she worked as a staffer for former Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz. Tallent helped draft a major immigration bill sponsored by Kolbe, McCain, and former Rep. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., now a senator and member of the "Gang of Eight" who created the comprehensive immigration bill that passed the Senate in June.