Friday, April 12, 2024

Eric Cantor’s Shocking Primary Loss Could Prove Fatal for Immigration Reform







Any hope of passing comprehensive immigration reform in the House this year was almost certainly squandered after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in yesterday’s Virginia GOP primary by little-known tea party challenger Dave Brat.

Top reform advocates contend that immigration likely played a huge role in Cantor’s stunning defeat. Cantor has been one of the House’s most outspoken opponents of the Senate’s bipartisan immigration bill.  New York Senator Chuck Schumer released a statement on Tuesday that said, “Cantor’s defeat does not change the fundamental fact that Republicans will become a minority party if they don’t address our broken immigration system.”

Dave Brat successfully campaigned on a platform that highlighted Cantor’s inconsistent stance on immigration reform and accused the Majority Leader of making concessions that would give undocumented immigrants “amnesty.” Cantor’s loss is a powerful reminder to other Republicans about the electoral costs of adopting moderate stances on immigration reform. As midterm elections quickly approach, Republicans incumbents may feel pressure to adopt a harsher stance on immigration that will inevitably alienate them from immigration reform advocates and Latino voters.

With immigration reform dead in Congress, pressure on the Obama Administration will mount to use his executive authority to act on the issue. Cesar Vargas of the Dream Action Coalition stated, “Obama offered the House another chance and they are making it very clear they have no intention of taking it. He should offer deportation relief, and other forms of administrative relief, now.”