The pressure is on for Cantor, as political factions from both sides of the aisle clamor for action on immigration. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
RICHMOND, Va. — Political forces from the left and the right gathered at the Virginia state Capitol Wednesday with a shared objective: Ratchet up the immigration pressure on Eric Cantor.
On one side were the pro-immigration activists — led by an Illinois Democrat — calling for the House majority leader to at least allow legislation an up-or-down vote. On the other was a political rival all-too-ready to hang the word “amnesty” around the Virginia Republican’s neck.
In the middle of the debate, walking a political tightrope with less than two weeks to go before a closely-watched primary and as the clock steadily ticks down on the 113th Congress, is Cantor.
“We have come here to say … stop being an obstacle. Stop standing in the way,” said Luis V. Gutiérrez, D-Ill., a leader in the national fight to pass an immigration overhaul bill who was invited to speak at Wednesday’s event by the group CASA de Virginia. “Become a hero of our community and become someone who can help the tens of thousands of Virginians who need help because of this broken immigration system.”
Half an hour earlier, Cantor’s June 10 primary opponent David Brat held a brief outdoor news conference on the steps of the building, where he had a different perspective on Cantor.
“Eric Cantor has been the No. 1 cheerleader in Congress for amnesty,” Brat told a half-dozen reporters. “Eric Cantor has spearheaded the amnesty push in the House. … There is no Republican in this country who is more liberal on immigration than Eric Cantor.”
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It wouldn’t seem Cantor could be both, but the No. 2 Republican in the House has tripped alarms on both sides of the sprawling, complicated and emotional debate in recent weeks. Full story