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Cantor's defeat and the future of immigration reform
BEAUMONT - by Lauren Huet
Southeast Texans are debating how a congressional race in Virginia could affect illegal immigrants here. It's the first time a sitting House majority leader has lost a primary race since the position was created in 1899. Republican Eric Cantor supported immigration reform, and some on Capitol Hill say his loss could take it off the table before the November elections.
Richard Rosario is a student at Lamar University and the vice president of the Lamar Education Initiative Association, a group that supports immigration reform. Despite GOP House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's defeat by Tea Party candidate David Brat, Rosario says immigration reform is not dead.
"Immigration reform is a movement and as long as there are families, and students, and workers who are wanting to belong to the United States, and as long as there are people like us who are activists for them, then the movement will continue," said Rosario.
However, Cantor's loss to an opponent who slammed him for his support of "amnesty" could cause a delay.
"Now the actual legislation, yes, it could be pushed back a bit," said Rosario. "But that's why we are asking President Barack Obama to act and do what he did for the students, through Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, if he could extend that until the House steps up and finally demands a vote for the immigration reform."
"Eric Cantor seemed to be on the team pushing for an amnesty and I know Texans don't want that, and most Americans just want the law enforced and that's not happening," said the Chairman of the Southeast Texas Tea Party.
Sadighi says Cantor's support of immigration reform was just one factor in his defeat.
"I'm sure it was a factor, but really if you listen to David Brat himself, he was saying he was just going on Republican values," said Sadighi. "Rule of law, limited government, economic freedom, personal freedom, and there's not a whole lot of difference between the Republicans and the Democrats right now as far as that goes."
Rosario says Cantor was out of touch with his constituents.
"They saw Eric Cantor as more interested in his position in Washington than he was about his own district," said Rosario, "and I think that's really what played out. Immigration was an issue, but it wasn't the full issue."
"The big takeaway is the folks in D.C. and the folks in Austin need to start paying a little more attention to what the people are saying, because people have been saying this stuff for a long time, before even the Tea Party started." said Sadighi.
Rosario says he's still hopeful immigration reform will pass.
"Hopefully if it doesn't happen as comprehensive immigration reform, Speaker Boehner keeps his word and he can at least do the piece-meal legislation where it wouldn't be full, but you can have steps to hopefully achieve the full process," said Rosario.