Gutierrez: Cantor's Defeat Won't Kill Immigration Reform - NBC Chicago
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Gutierrez: Cantor's Defeat Won't Kill Immigration Reform

Illinois rep says enough votes remain to pass comprehensive immigration reform



    Illinois rep says enough votes remain to pass comprehensive immigration reform. (Published Thursday, June 12, 2014)

    Add Illinois Rep. Luis Gutierrez to the list of advocates who believe the defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor does not mean the end of immigration reform.

    Cantor's Tea Party opponent, Dave Brat, made immigration an issue during the campaign and said Cantor supported amnesty for undocumented immigrants.

    But Gutierrez says the votes are still there.

    "There were more than 218 votes yesterday for immigration reform, they exist today, that hasn't changed," Gutierrez said.

    Gutierrez says Cantor never defended his position on the issue and allowed himself to get "painted" into the issue by his opponent.

    "What a different story it is when you define immigration as being sensible, common sense, safety, and also being compassionate to people. Eric Cantor just didn't do that," Gutierrez said.

    Gutierrez says a better example is South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, an immigration reform supporter who withstood a challenge by a Tea Party opponent.

    "There's dozens and dozens of wonderful men and women in the Republican caucus who want nothing more than to join Democrats like me and fix our broken immigration system," Gutierrez said.

    House Speaker John Boehner rejected the Senate's immigration bill after it was passed, but has left an option for the House to address it in the future.

    Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin told NBC News that Latinos who are advocating for immigration legislation also have an important role to play at the ballot box.

    “It isn’t enough to lament (that immigration reform has not passed)... We have to say to our friends in the Hispanic community in America ‘you have a problem and the problem is this: 40 percent of eligible Hispanics eligible to vote are not registered. 40 percent.’"