John Boehner Drives the Amnesty Train

| December 9 2013
John Walker

Lest anyone remain confused about House Speaker John Boehner’s real position on immigration reform, he removed all doubt this week with proof that he is committed to amnesty and open borders.

Ever since the Senate passed the Gang of Eight’s immigration reform bill in June, Boehner has done his best to be cagey about his intentions. He pledged not to bring up the Senate bill; but he said immigration reform was important.

This week Boehner broke what was left of public confusion about his plans when he named Rebecca Tallent, an immigration reform professional, to his staff. All that remains for the Speaker is to craft House proposals that will seal the deal.

Tallent, former chief of staff to Senator John McCain, is a veteran of immigration battles past. She helped draft the McCain-Kennedy amnesty legislation in 2006-2007. Before joining Boehner, Tallent served as immigration policy director for the Bipartisan Policy Center.

Boehner was quick to publicly welcome Tallent to his staff.

“The Speaker remains hopeful that we can enact step-by-step, common-sense immigration reforms — the kind of reforms the American people understand and support,” said Michael Steel, a spokesman for Boehner. “Becky Tallent, a well-known expert in this field of public policy, is a great addition to our team and that effort.”

Others on “our team” chimed right in. Among them were Arizona’s Gang of Eight senators – John McCain and Jeff Flake – who both tweeted praise for Tallent.

Take a good look at “our team.”  Boehner is the owner of the team, but the captain is House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. He is the one who schedules bills for House consideration. Cantor already is hard at work on his own version of a Dream Act. He  also is in charge of the long-term public relations campaign aimed at convincing skeptical voters that Republicans really do like immigrants.

Then there is Boehner’s quarterback, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan. Occasionally Ryan takes off his green eyeshade and sits down to map immigration reform strategy with his friend, Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez, the leading amnesty advocate in the House Democratic caucus. They will write the bills.

The rest of the team are the legions of Boehner’s followers eagerly awaiting the immigration reform pay off – the campaign contributions that will flow from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and dozens of corporations eagerly anticipating the import of cheap labor.

This is a win-win situation for dozens of members of Congress and the hugely influential business lobby. Members of Congress will get their campaign money. Business will get its workers. Left in the dust will be millions of unemployed Americans looking for work. Soon they will be forced to compete with an influx of low-wage workers.

Boehner and his team will continue to mouth the tired refrain that the House leadership will tolerate only a piecemeal approach to immigration reform. But this is a legislative detail, not a policy principle. Boehner’s immigration reform pieces will add up to the Senate’s Gang of Eight bill. A House-Senate conference will produce a reform package that President Obama will sign and claim as his own.

There is no time to pass immigration reform before the end of this year. Nevertheless, it surely will be front and center when Congress gets past the budget and debt ceiling deadlines in January.

When the time comes, John Boehner and his team will be ready. In the meantime, voters should be on guard. Watch what Boehner does. Ignore what he says.