The decision by House Speaker John Boehner to hire a business-backed advocate for more foreign workers shows that he wants to pass an immigration bill, says a top lobbyist working for Facebook billionaire Mark Zuckerberg.
The advocate, Becky Tallent, “wouldn’t have taken the job if she didn’t think it was the real item,” said Todd Schulte, the executive director of Zuckerberg’s lobbying group, FWD.US.
“It is all good news,” Schulte told The Daily Caller.
Joe Green, president of FWD.US, told TheDC that he had a one-hour Monday meeting with Boehner’s new staffer, who previously worked for Sen. John McCain in 2006 on a failed effort to pass an amnesty and foreign-worker bill.
“She’s great,” Green told TheDC, after hosting a successful and well-attended Monday Dec. 9 meeting for supporters in D.C.
But neither Schulte nor Green is sure that Boehner will support bills allowing an increased inflow of foreign workers.
“I don’t know,” Green told TheDC.
“My hope at the beginning of the year is that they’re going to send some very public signals that they want to go at this strong and spend a lot of time,” Schulte said. The answer will be clear “in a couple of weeks,” he added.
They hope that Boehner will push for increased immigration after GOP legislators finish their constituent meetings during the Christmas break.
The Senate has passed a bill seeks to triple legal immigration over the next decade to 30 million, and also raise the annual inflow of temporary guest-workers above 2 million.
Boehner says he won’t push the entire Senate bill, but has also suggested he would push most of the Senate bill in piece-by-piece separate bills.
The Senate bill would allow businesses to hire enough immigrants and guest workers during the next 10 years to replace every American aged between 20 and 30 who has a job.
Some conservative activists are alarmed about Boehner’s maneuvering.
“If there’s an opening, he wants to pass an amnesty,” said Roy Beck, founder of NumbersUSA, which wants to sharply reduce the current inflow of one million immigrants per year. That why “he’s brought in [Tallent] to make preparations,” he added.
Tallent’s hiring “is a kind of public slap in the face at every voter who has expressed objections” to the guest-worker and amnesty portions of McCain’s bills, including the 2013 Democratic-drafted bill that passed with McCain’s support, Beck said.
“We can hope it’s just symbolic, but at the very minimum, he’s [shown that] if he sees an opening, he’ll run the ball,” Beck said.
The push for increased immigration is opposed by various tea party grassroots groups, and by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.
TheDC asked Boehner’s aides if he would back an increased inflow of new worker. One aide repeated Boehner’s various public statements, none of which detail what bills Boehner would support.
“The speaker has discussed immigration reform many times in recent weeks, and his position has not changed,” said the statement.