Prospects for Immigration Reform Next Year Slightly Improve, Maybe

That’s about as encouraging a headline you are going to get from me on this subject these days.

The reason for this (cautious) optimism? First, Roll Call reports that Rebecca Tallent, most recently the Director of Immigration Policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC), has just joined House Speaker John Boehner’s staff. Roll Call notes that Tallent previously served in several senior staff positions with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)—one of the strongest Republican advocates for immigration reform in the Senate. Working for McCain, she helped draft a handful of immigration overhaul measures, including an earlier comprehensive  immigration reform effort back in 2007.

According to Roll Call, the BPC said the move “signals new momentum for immigration reform.” Of course, you’d expect them to say something like that. We shall see.

The other minor cause for optimism comes from an interview published in the Richmond Times Dispatch over the weekend with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Cantor cited immigration reform as on elf his 2014 priorities, although he is a strong proponent of the incremental approach championed by his fellow Republicans in the House. He suggested he wanted to start with the Kids Act, which would create a path to citizenship for people who were brought to the United States illegally when they were children.

At the very least, I think cautious optimism is reasonable as long as Republican leaders in the House are still talking about this issue. Eventually—one would think—all the talk will  have to be backed up by some kind of action.