Eric Cantor, Top GOP Jew, Changes Tune on Immigration

In Switch, Backs Citizenship for Children of Illegal Aliens

getty images

By Reuters

Published February 10, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share

A top U.S. Republican lawmaker said on Sunday he would support granting citizenship to children who are in the country illegally in a sign that conservatives who oppose immigration amnesty will be playing defense as Congress takes on immigration reform in the coming months.

Representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, said Congress could make quick progress on immigration if lawmakers agreed to give citizenship to children - an idea he opposed when it came up for a vote in 2010 as the DREAM Act.

“The best place to begin, I think, is with the children. Let’s go ahead and get that under our belt, put a win on the board,” Cantor said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Cantor is leading an effort to improve his party’s image as many Republicans worry they will be consigned to irrelevancy in coming years if they do not reach out to the fast-growing Latino electorate, which strongly supports immigration reform.

President Barack Obama has made immigration reform a top priority of his second term in office and a bipartisan group of senators is working to draft legislation that would tackle the issue in a comprehensive manner, rather than the piecemeal approach that Cantor suggested.

Republican Senator John McCain, who is involved in that effort, said his group aims to provide a path to citizenship for all of those who are in the United States illegally, not just children, as long as border security is tightened.

“There are 11 million people living in the shadows. I believe that they deserve to come out of the shadows,” McCain said on “Fox News Sunday.”

That could be a tough sell for many of Cantor’s Republicans in the House, who say it would amount to amnesty for those who willingly broke the law.

“We want to make sure we’re compassionate and sensitive to their plight - these kids know no other place as home. On the other hand, we are a country of laws,” Cantor said.

Cantor declined to say whether he would support a pathway to citizenship for adults as well. He could be forced to take a stand one way or the other if McCain and his colleagues manage to pass their legislation out of the Senate.

Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, said Cantor’s support for citizenship for children was a positive sign. But he said his colleagues in the Senate would be pushing for more.

“I’ve met these young people, and they will tell you, yes, I want a future, but what about my mom and dad?” Durbin said on “Meet the Press.” “We’re not stopping with the DREAM act, we’re beginning with the DREAM act and pushing forward.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • The rose petals have settled, and Andi has made her (Jewish?) choice. We look back on the #Bachelorette finale:
  • "Despite the great pain and sadness surrounding a captured soldier, this should not shape the face of this particular conflict – not in making concessions and not in negotiations, not in sobering assessments of this operation’s achievements or the need to either retreat or move forward." Do you agree?
  • Why genocide is always wrong, period. And the fact that some are talking about it shows just how much damage the war in Gaza has already done.
  • Construction workers found a 75-year-old deli sign behind a closing Harlem bodega earlier this month. Should it be preserved?
  • "The painful irony in Israel’s current dilemma is that it has been here before." Read J.J. Goldberg's latest analysis of the conflict:
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.