Immigration reform has been part of House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) rhetoric for a while, but he may now be getting serious. In June, Boehner said that “Securing our borders, enforcing our laws and making the process of becoming a legal immigrant fairer will in fact help America remain a magnet for the brightest minds and the hardest workers in the world.”
At the time, his call for immigration reform was blocked, with an agricultural policy bill shot down in the House of Representatives. In late October, a group of Republicans came to Washington to lobby against their own party representatives. They were executives and donors who threatened to cease contributions in the next election if Republicans didn’t stop jamming things up in Congress where immigration is concerned.
This, paired with Boehner’s recent anger at Tea Party members in the GOP, helps signal the gravity of Boehner’s intent when he spoke on plans to change immigration legislation. According to New York Times sources, Boehner spoke in favor of a “step by step” change to the laws governing immigration.
Per the publication, Boehner has hired Rebecca Tallent, the former adviser to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on immigration. Though Boehner’s aides have told The New York Times that her role is to help him get his plans carried out, not change his opinions to hers, the move still suggests Boehner hopes to make a deal on immigration change this year.
“The American people are skeptical of big, comprehensive bills, and frankly, they should be. The only way to make sure immigration reform works this time is to address these complicated issues one step at a time. I think doing so will give the American people confidence that we’re dealing with these issues in a thoughtful way and a deliberative way,” said Boehner, according to The New York Times.