GOP Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor called for a compromise immigration deal with President Barack Obama during a campaign interview with a local Virginia TV station.
“I have told the president, there are some things we can work on together,” he said in the WTVR interview.
“We can work on the border security bill together, we can work on something like the kids,” he said referring to his proposal to offer some undetermined variety of amnesty to the children and youths of millions of parents who entered the country illegally.
“So far, the president has just insisted that it’s all or nothing, [it is] my way or the highway,” Cantor complained. “That’s not going to happen,” he added.
But President Barack Obama is willing to make a deal, says one White House advisor, Rev. Richard Ryscavage.
Ryscavage is a Jesuit priest, a sociology and anthropology professor at Fairfield University, the director of the university’s Center for Faith and Public Life and a member of a new White House panel on immigration.
A compromise is “what they’re preparing for, that’s what they think is going to happen, so they’re [publicly] asking for a lot of stuff that privately they don’t think they’re going to get” in a final deal, he told The Daily Caller June 6.
The White House’s domestic policy director, Cecilia Munoz, is willing to compromise, said Ryscavage, who works with administration officials on immigration issues. “Cecilia even knows that” the White House must compromise, he said.
Before she took the job at the White House, Munoz was a top leader at the ethnic advocacy group, La Raza.
White House officials are pushing for a larger amnesty than they expect to get, he said.
But, he added, they don’t want to deal with the need for better anti-fraud measures. “They don’t want to go into that, because they don’t believe anyone commits fraud,” he told TheDC.
Cantor’s June 6 offer of a youth amnesty comes during the final days of a surprisingly close primary race, where his rival — Dave Brat, an economics professor — has slammed him as an unwavering ally of big business.
A June 2 poll commissioned by the Daily Caller showed Cantor with only 52 percent support, and his rival at 40 percent support with 9 percent undecided. The poll of 583 likely GOP primary voters was conducted by Vox Populi.
That’s a narrower margin than a May 28 poll of 400 primary voters by McLaughlin and Associates, which gave Cantor a 34 point lead, 62 percent to 28 percent. That poll was commissioned by Cantor’s reelection campaign.
Brat is using Cantor’s advocacy for an immigration deal to win support from the Seventh District’s voters, who oppose an amnesty of a legalization by roughly three to one.
Cantor “represents large corporations seeking a never-ending supply of cheap foreign labor,” Brat said in a June 8 op-ed for the Richmond Times-Despatch.
Cantor “doesn’t care about how this will affect your livelihood, your schools, your tax bills or your kids’ chances of finding a job… [but] I will fight to end crony capitalist programs that benefit the rich and powerful,” said Brat. “The central policy issue in this race has become Cantor’s absolute determination to pass an amnesty bill… this is not the Republican way to fix our economy and labor markets.”
Between 2000 and 2013, the U.S. accepted 10 million guest-workers and 13.4 million immigrants. That adds up to roughly 800,000 guest workers and 1 million immigrants per year.
Each year, roughly 4 million Americans turn 18 and begin looking for jobs, amid high unemployment and the large inflow of foreign labor.
A top White House economist, Jason Furman, has acknowledged that poverty declines when there’s a shortage of workers, not a surplus of workers.
To offset opposition in his primary election, Cantor has emphasized his opposition to the “Comprehensive Immigration Reform” bill passed by the Senate in June 2013.
However, he has endorsed portions of the Senate bill, including measures that would allow younger illegals to stay, and would allow companies to hire more foreign workers.
In his June 6 interview, Cantor reiterated his opposition to the Senate bill, even as he called for a compromise bill.
That’s been the pattern for more than a year, as GOP leaders zig-zag between the conflicting demands of their voters and of their business allies, who want to increase the inflow of foreign workers.
Cantor also argued that Obama must show he won’t renege on any compromise before the GOP can move ahead with an immigration deal.
“The president has got to go and demonstrate that he’s willing to rebuild the trust with the American people after what he has and his administration have demonstrated on all kinds of things, where unilateral moves, executive orders have been signed without regard to the intent of the law passed by Congress,” Cantor said.
Since 2012, President Barack Obama has sharply boosted the inflow of foreign labor.
In June 2012, Obama offered work permits to at least 520,000 younger illegal immigrants.
In May 214, his deputies announced plans to offer work permits to 100,000 spouses of guest-workers.
This month, his administration announced a plan to hire 100 lawyers and paralegals to help a new inflow of illegal immigrants youths, parents and children settle in the United States. That inflow could reach 190,000 or more by October 2015, according to estimates by officials.