Amnesty for illegal aliens never seems to be really, truly dead, despite frequent pronouncements.

The news that John Boehner has hired a former John McCain staffer involved in McCain’s push for immigration reform has rekindled speculation that Boehner will go soft on the issue.

Steve Dinan in The Washington Times write, Hola: Boehner prepares to push amnesty bill through House:

House Speaker John A. Boehner announced Tuesday that he has hired a longtime advocate of legalizing illegal immigrants to be an adviser, signaling that the Republican is still intent on trying to pass an immigration bill during this congressional session.

Immigrant rights advocates cheered the move as a sign of Mr. Boehner’s dedication to action. Those who want a crackdown on illegal immigration said the top Republican in the House has moved closer to embracing amnesty by hiring Rebecca Tallent, a former staffer for Sen. John McCain and fellow Arizona Republican Jim Kolbe.

Tallent’s hiring suggests he really does still want to push an amnesty through the House, which to me suggests that the immigration hawks still have their work cut out for them,” said Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies. “She is a professional amnesty advocate.”

Ms. Tallent is leaving a job as immigration policy director for the Bipartisan Policy Center and will join Mr. Boehner’s staff Wednesday, putting her in the center of one of the thorniest issues in Congress.

Roll Call reports, Boehner’s New Immigration Policy Director Has Deep Experience on Overhaul Efforts:

During her time with McCain, she helped the Arizona Republican draft a handful of immigration overhaul measures, including the last big push McCain made with the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, D-Mass., in 2007. In 2008, she was a policy adviser on McCain’s presidential campaign. Before working for McCain, she worked for former Rep. Jim Kolbe, R-Ariz., a longtime advocate of overhauling the immigration system who was involved in immigration efforts before he retired in 2006.

The BPC, the nonpartisan think tank established by four former Senate majority leaders — Howard Baker, R-Tenn., Tom Daschle, D-S.D., Bob Dole, R -Kan. and George Mitchell, D-Maine — announced her departure on Tuesday afternoon, beating Boehner’s office to the punch by several minutes.

The BPC release heralded Talent’s new job as one that “signals new momentum for immigration reform.”

“Speaker Boehner could not have chosen a better person to help House leadership develop effective immigration reform legislation,” Haley Barbour, the former Republican governor of Mississippi who is co-chairman of BPC’s immigration task-force, said in a statement.

I have an email in to Boehner’s press spokesman as to whether this signal’s a change in Boehner’s position, but have not yet heard back.

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