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Cantor takes middle ground on immigration, hit by Republicans and Democrats
GOP leader steadfast in support of legal status for younger ‘Dreamers’
Question of the Day
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor heads into the Virginia Republican primary Tuesday as a heavy favorite to survive a tea party challenge in a race that has become dominated by immigration.
It’s a thorny issue for Mr. Cantor, who is facing attacks from his left and right flanks for his stance, which would allow young illegal immigrants to gain legal status but leave their parents’ situations unclear.
Mr. Cantor rejects the amnesty claim. Although he hasn’t backed down from his plan to offer legal status to younger illegal immigrants, he has bragged to voters that he helped stop an even broader Senate bill that would have granted a full pathway to citizenship to most illegal immigrants.
Immigration isn’t the only issue at play in the race, but it’s certainly a main topic, said Dan Palazzolo, head of the University of Richmond’s political science department.
“It’s played out in a lot of primaries — every Republican politician who’s attempted to come near the issue has been attacked from the right,” Mr. Palazzolo said.
“It’s laughable to refer to him as an immigration hawk, but he’s not an ideologically committed immigration expansionist either,” Mr. Krikorian said. “Immigration is something he needs to finesse.”
Mr. Brat, a professor at Randolph-Macon College just north of Richmond, has ridden the immigration issue to win support from national figures including conservative commentators Ann Coulter and Laura Ingraham, but he also has consistently acknowledged the improbability of unseating the House majority leader, who won nearly 80 percent of the vote when he turned aside a primary challenger two years ago.
Mr. Werrell said immigration always has been a hot-button issue in the campaign but that Mr. Cantor’s changing positions on a measure to allow some illegal immigrants to serve in the military “has made it obvious that Eric Cantor blows any way the wind does.”
“No matter what the facts are on the ground, he’s just gotten more extreme,” Mr. Allen said of Mr. Brat. “He’s just come unhinged. This too shall pass.”
Mr. Krikorian said regardless of the outcome, the race already has sent a message to Republicans on immigration.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Sherfinski covers politics for The Washington Times. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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