On this Sunday's Meet the Press, host David Gregory asked House Majority Leader Eric Cantor if he was shifting his stance on immigration and the Dream Act after he said this at a speech at the American Enterprise Institute:
In a wide-ranging speech at the conservative think tank the American Enterprise Institute, Cantor said that when it comes to immigration reform, "A good place to start is with the kids."
"One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents," he said. " It is time to provide an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and who know no other home."
When David Gregory tried to pin him down about whether he would actually be supportive of the Dream Act which would create a path to citizenship for these children, Cantor refused to answer him and claimed he didn't know what the Dream Act was. And despite the fact that Gregory pressed him for a yes or no answer specifically on the path to citizenship, Gregory eventually allowed Cantor to get away with punting on the question and moved on to the next topic.
CANTOR: David, it's been over ten years now where this problem has not been dealt with and we've been unable to find any common ground and what I said this week at the American Enterprise Institute was that I thought the best way to start was with children. […]
GREGORY: So you would support the Dream Act?
CANTOR: I have put out a proposal. I don't know what the Dream Act at this point is. What I say is we've got a place, I think all of us can come together and that is for the kids. Now...
GREGORY: Can you bring conservatives along to supporting a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are here without having to first leave the country?
CANTOR: There is a lot of movement right now in the House and the Senate and both sides of the aisle, with both having a lot of different ideas. I think...
GREGORY: But yes or no to that question, because you could really do it if you went all in, you could bring along the right in the House, couldn't you?
CANTOR: I think that a good place to start is with children and listen, we've got some... look, here's the difficulty in this issue I think, and it is because we've got families that are here that become part of the fabric of our country, right? And we want to make sure that we're compassionate and sensitive to their plight, I mean, these kids know no other place as home. On the other hand, we are a country of laws. You know, we have a situation with the border security that we've got to get straight. We have to secure our borders and there is this balance that needs to take place. But 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 and so we can promise a better life for those kids who are here due to no fault of their own.
Sounds like a lot of weasel words to me. As Think Progress noted, Rep. Raul Labrador has proposed legislation that would create a permanent underclass of undocumented immigrants. Who want to take dibs that his legislation is what we'll see Cantor and his fellow House members end up supporting? I don't think we'll ever see Republicans support a path to citizenship, because allowing these immigrants to become citizens means allowing them to vote and we all know they don't want that. Right now their so-called "rebranding" effort just looks like smearing a whole lot of lipstick on the same old pig.
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