Yesterday, The New York Times reported that Speaker John Boehner has signaled that he was prepared to take action on immigration reform.
As we noted in our “4 Reasons to Stay Positive about Immigration Reform in 2014,” blog, the Speaker has indicated that he might be ready to make reform a reality both through a simple change of tone and a headline-worthy new hire to his staff.
After passing a bipartisan budget deal written by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Senator Patty Murphy (D-WA), the Speaker made it clear that he did not care about the vocal criticism of ultra-conservative groups going as far as saying, “they’ve lost all credibility.”
It is no secret that since 2011 Speaker Boehner has found his ability to legislate hindered by ultra conservative groups. The Speaker appears ready to distance himself from those groups, who among other things have traditionally been opposed to immigration reform.
Now, this alone might not be enough to signal that Boehner is ready for reform, but back in December he hired Becky Tallent to his staff. This hire is significant because Tallent was the former immigration policy director and is well known for her work on immigration while serving as chief of staff for Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ).
When taken together these two actions have many convinced that Speaker Boehner is ready to make immigration reform a reality, even if it is piece by piece. Boehner has made his reluctance to pass comprehensive immigration reform well known, preferring instead to take it one step at a time – an option that President Obama would welcome.
Speaking at a Wall Street Journal forum, Obama told the audience, ”If they want to chop that thing up in five pieces, as long as all five pieces get done, I don’t care what it looks like.” All this might mean that 2014 is finally the year for immigration reform.