It what can only be described as a stunning defeat, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor was defeated in the Virginia primary by an upstart Tea Party candidate. During the primary campaign, insurgent David Brat had attacked Cantor for being soft on immigration.
Cantor had championed a Republican version of the DREAM Act, which would have allowed some children of the undocumented to qualify for in-state College tuition rates. It was also rumored that he supported a limited path to citizenship for undocumented workers who serve in the military. However, he never brought any DREAM Act legislation before the House and he repudiated any support for a path to citizenship through military service just weeks before his defeat.
The Cantor campaign was apparently worried about the immigration attacks, spending heavily for television ads and mailers that boasted that he had actually blocked amnesty for undocumented immigrants on Capitol Hill.
Some political insiders say that the media blitz may have proven his undoing, as he helped to give name recognition and a face to an opponent who had little in the way of campaign funds or name recognition.
Cantor had not exactly been known as a liberal when it came to immigration reform. He had worked with House Speaker John Boehner to block an immigration reform bill that had been passed by the Senate last year.
This fact was lost during a campaign in which Cantor was decried as not being conservative or Republican enough when it came to immigration. Cantor will step down from his leadership role at the end of July.
So, what happens next? Only the next several months will tell, but it looks like the passage of a comprehensive immigration reform bill is even more up in the air than it was before.
If you have questions about immigration or need your immigration needs addressed, the experienced and dedicated immigration attorneys at Lubiner, Schmidt & Palumbo in New Jersey are here to help. Call us today toll-free at (888) 847-2529 or contact us online today.