House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) refused to answer on three occasions whether the House GOP leadership’s “immigration principles” will allow illegal immigrants to eventually get citizenship–or amnesty.
In an appearance on CBS’s Face the Nation, guest-host Major Garrett pressed Cantor about the issue, saying that the “principles” enumerate a legal status for the country’s illegal immigrants before asking, “What do you mean by that and, by definition, does that mean no citizenship for them ever?”
Cantor punted, instead speaking about the 75% of Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck.
Garrett pressed him again, asking, “Legal status, yes. Citizenship never or possible?”
Cantor deflected again, and he spoke about the “squeeze of the working middle class” that Republicans want to deal with even though the various pathway to citizenship provisions would lower the wages of the American workers Cantor said the party purportedly wants to help. He then repeated the GOP leadership’s talking points about solving immigration with a “step-by-step approach” and implied that DREAMers should be granted immediate citizenship, saying there are kids who have been brought to the country by their parents through no fault of their own and “we ought to take care of that problem.”
Garrett then called Cantor out, saying Cantor has twice avoided the “opportunity to say what the principles that were handed out to your members said, on camera.”
“Are you running away from this even at the start… the idea that there will be legal status and possibly a path to citizenship?” Garrett asked.
“I’m not running away from this,” Cantor said before deflecting the question once again to talk about how wages have not gone up for American workers for 10 years, which the immigration reform legislation would not help, according to numerous nonpartisan studies.
As Breitbart News reported, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) also avoided two questions last week about whether immigration reform legislation that may come out of the House will allow illegal immigrants to eventually get citizenship. Ryan did acknowledge, though, that illegal immigrants would be able to get work permits even before the enforcement and border security metrics are met.
Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL), who has called Ryan his “ally” in his quest to grant citizenship to all of the country’s illegal immigrants, said that he believed the House GOP’s “immigration principles” do not rule out eventual citizenship for all of the country’s illegal immigrants.
“You know what, the Republicans aren’t saying they must permanently stay in the status,” he reportedly said on a conference call on Friday after the principles were unveiled in reference to the “probationary” work permits that may be proposed in future legislation. “That is not what they are saying. So there isn’t any permanent second-class citizenship, as I’ve read. Now a lot of this is going to be in the specifics.”
Though GOP leaders have been claiming that there is no “amnesty” in their immigration principles, they have not denied, even after being given multiple chances to do so, that there will not be.