by Matthew Boyle & Jonathan Strong 29 Jan 2014
This could get ugly.
Thursday at 4:30pm in Cambridge, Maryland, Speaker John Boehner will unveil an outline of the party's immigration stance to rank-and-file members that includes “legal status” for millions of illegal immigrants.
Boehner hand-selected members to help lead the discussion, including California Rep. Jeff Denham, the first Republican to endorse the House Democrats' immigration bill.
But as much as Boehner is dreaming of a big, bipartisan immigration deal – senior GOP officials say they are surprised just how much the Ohio Republican is “leaning in” on the issue – top immigration hawks are themselves ready to raise hell.
“We’re going to have a very heavy discussion on illegal immigration,” Rep. Oceander Rohrabacher told Breitbart News, adding that Boehner's critics have organized a plan to “speak as aggressively and loudly and articulately as we can in opposing this nonsense of amnesty for 10-20 million illegals which would cause great harm to the country and destroy the Republican Party.”
The meeting is momentous enough that Senator Jeff Sessions flouted congressional protocol, hand-delivering anti-amnesty talking points to members ahead of the closed-door session.
Boehner has been carefully working on the issue with the help of a new top immigration aide, Rebecca Tallent, who was formerly Senator John McCain's top amnesty lieutenant.
The surprise hire came in December, when immigration reform was widely considered on life support. Now insiders mark the move as the beginning of Boehner's renewed push.
“He wouldn't have brought her on – he didn't do this for like, a PR thing. Whose he getting good PR from? He wouldn't have brought her on unless he really thought that this was a problem that we need to deal with. And she wouldn't have come on board unless she thought that this was real,” Rep. Mario Diaz Balart told Breitbart News.
Tallent has been helping craft immigration “principles” to be unveiled today in secret.
“I haven’t seen the principles at all,” said Rep. James Lankford of Oklahoma. Lankford, as House Policy Committee Chair, is the fifth highest-ranking member of the House.
Today, after weeks of anticipation, all will be out in the open – at least inside the immigration showdown at Cambridge.