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Immigration Reform “Office Hours”

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Cantor, Graham and Immigration Reform: What the Tale of Two Primaries Means for 2014, 2016 and Beyond

Rep. Eric Cantor’s (R-VA) defeat and Senator Lindsey Graham’s (R-SC) victory this week offer two distinct profiles on how different approaches on immigration can lead to wildly different outcomes.

On today’s Office Hours call, business leaders and immigration advocates discussed the role immigration played in both primary races, the implications for immigration reform and the impact this all could have on the Republican Party’s future.

As Jeremy Robbins, Executive Director of the Partnership for a New American Economy, said:

Senator Graham’s recent primary victory is just the latest example that Americans, by overwhelming margins, want immigration reform and will support representatives with the courage to lead on it.

This week FWD.us put out two polls confirming broad and diverse support for the House to take up immigration reform. 

Todd Schulte, Executive Director of FWD.us, explained on today’s call:

We did two polls, one was a joint poll with ten Republican pollsters surveying general election voters and Latino voters.  As the results showed, immigration reform is an issue that has enormous popularity; and if House Republicans fail to pass immigration reform, they’re overwhelmingly going to be blamed for it.  The entire Republican polling establishment came together this week to say that this is an important issue popular with every segment of the American public.

Furthermore, as our second poll of primary voters in VA-07 showed, immigration reform was not the reason why Eric Cantor lost his primary.  Among David Brat voters, 22% cited immigration reform as the reason for his vote, while 77% cited other factors.  And that’s David Brat voters.

Meanwhile, across the country in Colorado, vulnerable Republicans like Rep. Mike Coffman (R-CO) and Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) have key lessons to draw upon from this week when it comes to the issue of immigration.

As Patty Kupfer, Managing Director of America’s Voice based in Colorado, said:

After this week, for Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman, things are not looking good.  I think one of our key takeaways is that Republicans that lean into the issue do well.  The state of Colorado is just a really interesting window onto what’s at stake for the Republican Party nationally.  If we do see President Obama step up with Administrative relief this year, and if Democrats continue to lean in, I think Colorado can easily become the example of what the Republican Party can expect nationwide in 2016.

For recordings and resources from prior Office Hours calls, click here. 

Listen to a recording of today’s call HERE.

351 Days Since Senate Passed its Immigration Bill; 13 Days Left Until Window of Opportunity Closes