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“If Republicans want to broaden their appeal to diverse voters — really, any American who expects leaders to lead and solve problems — they need to talk less and do more,” said Lynn Tramonte, deputy director of America’s Voice.

House Democrats say passing immigration reform could rescue a year devoid of other major accomplishments.

Ms. Tallent didn’t return a call seeking comment Tuesday.

Ana Navarro, who worked with Ms. Tallent on the 2008 McCain presidential campaign and who has pushed Republicans to tackle immigration reform, said hiring Ms. Tallent was a smart move for Mr. Boehner.

“It tells me that he’s looking to find solutions to some of the complex issues,” she said. “You don’t hire Becky Tallent if you don’t want to get something done. If all you want to do is kick the can down the road and just talk about the issue, you don’t hire Becky Tallent. If you want to solve the issue, you hire Becky Tallent to work with you.”

Ms. Tallent is a native of Tucson, Ariz., and Ms. Navaro said her knowledge of border issues will help House Republicans as they try to craft legislation.

“She brings a particular sensitivity to the border issues, to the immigration issues. She’s pragmatic,” Ms. Navaro said.

Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet said Ms. Tallent’s experience will help her sift through the issues and find something that will work.

“The House is going to continue to chart its own course on immigration reform. Becky understands the issues — both those that should be on the table and those that have derailed past reform efforts,” Mr. Grumet said in a statement.