Immigration reformers to put pressure on Obama after Cantor loss

WASHINGTON Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:48pm EDT

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor talks about his defeat in his Virginia Republican primary election during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 11, 2014. REUTERS/Jim Bourg

U.S. House Majority Leader Eric Cantor talks about his defeat in his Virginia Republican primary election during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 11, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Jim Bourg

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Immigration reform advocates said on Wednesday that U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary election loss spelled doom for immigration legislation and that they planned to step up pressure on the White House to enact changes without waiting for Congress.

David Brat, who scored a major upset in defeating the No. 2 Republican in Congress in Tuesday's primary in Virginia, labeled immigration as a major point of contention between himself and Cantor, crediting his own hardline stance in his victory. [ID:nL2N0OS0ZB]

Some advocates fear that House Republicans will interpret the primary's results as a sign they should avoid entangling themselves with immigration legislation before November's congressional elections.

"Many Republicans will react reflexively and say: 'Let's not touch this issue,'" said Frank Sharry, executive director of the America's Voice immigration advocacy group.

Seeing the chances of legislation dim with Cantor's defeat, immigration advocates cast doubt on Wednesday on President Barack Obama's strategy to hold back on executive action until he has given the Republican-controlled House of Representatives a last chance to act.

Obama said last month he would be delaying much-anticipated changes to the nation's deportation policy in hopes the House would act on passing comprehensive immigration before this August's legislative recess, which is seen as the last practical window for passing a bill under this Congress.

"If there were doubts before, this is sort of the lid to put on it. We now need the president to act," said Eddie Carmona, campaign manager for PICO National Network's Campaign for Citizenship.

Obama, speaking at a fundraiser on Wednesday, rejected the view that Cantor's loss spelled the end of immigration reform.

"It's interesting to listen to the pundits and the analysts and some of the conventional wisdom talks about how the politics of immigration reform seem impossible now. I fundamentally reject that," Obama said. [ID:nL2N0OS2DH]

(Editing by Peter Cooney and Eric Walsh)

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Comments (15)
greese007 wrote:
IMHO Cantor’s loss had a lot less to do with his tolerance for immigration reform than it did for his indifference to all the noises coming from his base… about representing their needs. He was a creature of Washington pomp and privilege, and presumed that he was already anointed to power. He assumed that all he needed to continue in power was to satisfy his fat cat donors. Because money trumps votes. Money buys all the votes one needs. Until it doesn’t.

Jun 11, 2014 10:32pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
astroz wrote:
Massive citizen engagement through phone calls to the Capital Switchboard (202 224-3121) and websites like NumbersUSA.com (that both educate citizens and allow them to quickly send well written and well aimed faxes) were largely to credit for Cantor’s downfall. Citizens scored a major victory over the anything goes immigration crowd and the Chamber of Commerce, but we must stay engaged and active to win the crown…..immigration laws that serve long term CITIZENS INTERESTS. Stay in the good fight America….this is our nation and we must not let it be hi-jacked by radicals who would gladly destroy workers, wages, tax payers, laws and our very democracy. Keep calling and keep faxing (with NumbersUSA.com). It is up to us all to defend our nation….only action matters!

Jun 11, 2014 10:40pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
PJMorgan wrote:
So does this mean all the white people will go back to Europe and the indigenous people will get their land back?

Jun 11, 2014 11:02pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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