Monday, February 11, 2013

Secretaries Condoleezza Rice, Henry Cisneros and Governors Haley Barbour, Ed Rendell to lead new immigration task force

A high-level bipartisan task force on immigration has launched to develop a politically viable package of policy recommendations and work with Congress to help pass immigration reform. The immigration commission, announced this morning, is co-chaired by former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, and former Governors Haley Barbour and Ed Rendell.

The new Immigration Task Force will consider all pillars of immigration reform, including enforcement, legalization and worker visas.  Over the next several months, the group’s agenda includes developing and advocating for consensus recommendations to guide national immigration policy.

Working with diverse interests, the group intends to develop and advocate practical solutions that will further the conversations in both the Senate and the House.

The bipartisan group comes together at a critical time. “In the last month, there has been considerable attention paid to this issue, kick starting the momentum for legislative action,” commented Governor Rendell about the announcement.

The task force, created by the Bipartisan Policy Center, will also encourage substantive, bipartisan dialogue among key interest groups and decision makers on national immigration goals and strategies. The intent is to engage and shape the immigration policy debate as it unfolds over the course of the coming months.

Governor Barbour touched on the challenge of the group’s agenda: “Despite our divergent views, I am confident the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Immigration Task Force will propose recommendations that push the country forward.”
Image by Eric Draper [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons:
Rice answers press questions, August 7 2006
 Secretary Rice commenting on the role of bipartisan dialogue toward legislative action stated:  “I am eager to develop a set of recommendations for immigration reform that both Republicans and Democrats can support.”

The full task force membership, which will be announced in the coming weeks, will be comprised of leading immigration experts, business and labor leaders, former elected officials, and other stakeholders.

Former HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros.
“We are determined to be helpful to the current immigration debate around the country and have already begun talking to major constituencies,” said Secretary Cisneros.  “While our recommendations will take time to develop, we intend to regularly weigh in on the ongoing debate as it develops on Capitol Hill.”

The project will be directed by former Chief of Staff and long-time aide to Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Rebecca Tallent, who joined BPC earlier this month to lead this effort.  Starting in 2005, Tallent served as Senator McCain’s lead staff person on immigration issues.  She advised and drafted bipartisan immigration legislation in the 108th, 109th and 110th Congresses.