GOP's Cantor favors granting citizenship to children of illegal immigrants
WASHINGTON — A top 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.
Rep. Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House, 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 Obama has made immigration reform a top priority of his second term, 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 Sen. 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.”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Kentucky county clerk Davis jailed for stand on same-sex marriage licenses
- Clinton aides pressed former State worker Pagliano to testify on use of email
- Video may provide clues in manhunt for officer’s killers in Illinois
- Prosecutor to seek death penalty in South Carolina church shootings
- Railroads get 6-month pass on leaky cars
- Virginia cop indicted in man’s slaying
- Former Corinthian College students seek relief
- 9 military labs halted amid fears over toxins
- Gitmo terror recidivism rate increases
- Trio to serve time in rock attack off interstate
- US economy surged at 3.7 percent rate in April-June quarter