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Not Enough: Cantor Speech Changes Immigration Tone, Not Policy, While Boehner Won't Answer On Citizenship


eric cantorAs the House Judiciary Committee holds its first hearing on immigration reform, the two top Republicans in the House are talking about the issue.

In a widely publicized event, House Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor is giving a policy speech today at the American Enterprise Institute, following an interview today with CBS’ “This Morning” where the Congressman previewed his remarks.  Our Deputy Director, Lynn Tramonte, made the following statement about Cantor:

For years, Republicans in Congress have let Reps. Lamar Smith and Steve King define them on immigration, alienating Latino voters and costing them elections.

We welcome Majority Leader Cantor’s change in tone on immigration.  But a change in tone is not enough; we need a bold change in policy too.  Will House Republican leaders help lead their Party and country forward by passing an immigration law that includes a roadmap to citizenship for qualified immigrants without papers?  Or will they try to appease the anti-immigrant zealots in their Party and hope that a simple change in tone will reset their brand with Latino voters?

Latino Decisions polling shows that Republicans need to lead on immigration in order to repair their relationship with Latino voters.  Vague platitudes and speeches won’t cut it.

Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner also made some news on immigration today. Boehner is also talking platitudes, and won’t make a commitment on the key policy provision – the path to citizenship. From Talking Points Memo, with the headline “Boehner Mum On Whether He Supports Path To Citizenship In Immigration Reform”:

On the first day of congressional hearings on immigration reform, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) on Tuesday evaded a question on whether he supports a path to citizenship for the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“I want to just encourage members to continue to try to come to some resolution on that issue,” Boehner said at a press conference.

Politico reports “Boehner won’t back citizenship pathway

For more information, see:

“The Political Calculus of Immigration Reform: What Republicans and Democrats Stand to Gain or Lose in the Upcoming Debate” by Latino Decisions; press release here.