As many people already know, the fight to pass comprehensive immigration reform has moved from the Senate to the House of Representatives, where it has sat idle, ignored by the few who have the power to quash it, including their spokesperson, John Boehner. The Republican leadership in the House of Representatives has stated in the past that a comprehensive bill to overhaul U.S. immigration policy - like one that closely mirrors the Senate's bill - would be dead on arrival in the House.
However, a recent hiring by Speaker of the House John Boehner of consultant Rebecca Tallent may indicate a welcome paradigm-shift for immigration advocates. We can hope can't we? It may be a miniscule glimmer, but we have tokeep some hope alive.
In early December, Mr. Boehner hired consultant Ms. Tallent, former Chief of Staff to Arizona Senator John McCain. Ms. Tallent has supposedly been asked by Mr. Boehner to handle immigration policy for his office. Given her experience working on Mr. McCain's comprehensive immigration reform bill, hiring Ms. Tallent has kindled speculation that a vote on immigration reform may come soon. An op-ed piece written by Ms. Tallent in early November may provide some clues as to Boehner's intentions.
Rather than passing one piece of legislation like the Senate bill, it seems more plausible that Republicans in the House will instead offer several piecemeal bills to cherry pick popular issues such as strengthening border security (and of course sliding in their porkbarrel legislation wherever possible, per the usual).
Nonetheless, moderate House Republicans are looking at their districts and seeing a groundswell of support for a fair immigration policy. No amount of spin can stop the demographic re-shaping of America. Heading into the 21st mistake, especially for those younger congressmen and women who aspire to be the next John Dingell (57 years in the House of Representatives). At the beginning of the 113th Congress, 75 of the Representatives (17% of the total House membership) had first been elected to the House in November 2012, so these neophyte know that if they aspire to long-term employment in Congress that that necessitates kowtowing to all important constituents, including the fastest-growing group, Latinos and second-generation immigrants.
We must hope that the hiring of Ms. Tallent by Mr. Boehner signals that we out-of-status individuals who have no voice in the country where they work raise families and pay taxes.
Supporters of comprehensive immigration reform need to pressure their representatives in order to make the "Dream" part of the "Dream Act" a reality.
This is especially true for people whose representative is opposed to comprehensive immigration reform. To locate your Representative click here.