An economics professor and former seminary student, Dave Brat defeated No. 2 Republican in Congress, Eric Cantor, during the primary election held in Virginia this week.
The conservative challenger’s victory is – for the most part – being attributed to his uncompromising stance against the legalization of undocumented people in America.
The only hope to resurrect the immigration reform after Tuesday, it seems, remains at the hand of the man whose double terms as the President of the United States witnessed a record number of deportations – Barack Obama.
Here’s a brief summary of why this is a sad state of affairs:
Immigration reform: "Something for everyone"
In 2009 Obama suggested a "something for everyone" proposal that included an 'amnesty' type of program to legalize undocumented immigrants, and programs to help immigrants adjust to life in the United States.
However, the suggested bill never came to life because of strong opposition from the House of Representatives.
Last June, House Speaker John Boehner stated that the (immigration) law will never come into being because “for any legislation, including a conference report, to pass the House, it's going to have to be a bill that has the support of the majority of our [Republican] members.”
Brat vs. Cantor:
Although Cantor never filed an immigration bill and, despite his opponent’s claim, was not a full-throated supporter of "amnesty" for undocumented immigrants, he still failed to win the primary election.
It’s because he had reportedly shown some lukewarm support for narrow immigration compromise and even that, the recent election results show, was not acceptable to the Republican Party.
The mere hint of sympathy crushed Cantor; the man who DC insiders once speculated could possibly overthrow Boehner as Speaker with the support of hard-line conservatives.
Is it bad?
Yes, because Cantor’s defeat essentially means that:
- “House Republicans will probably avoid involving themselves with immigration legislation – at least before November's congressional elections,” to quote Newsweek,
- “…It's getting a lot easier to declare that Congress isn't going to pass an immigration bill,” USA Today wrote.
- “Supporting amnesty will get you booted out of office, meaning immigration reform is now totally, completely, irrevocably six-feet-under dead,” according to the Wire.
To put in a nutshell, not a single Republican – who wants to keep his job – will dare join the words “amnesty” and “compromise” – which means the immigration bill will never become a law.
Obama to save the day now?
Obama’s executive action to address the issue is the only solution to put an end to the woes of undocumented people in the country.
“If Boehner decides not to act and the window closes on immigration reform, the president has no option but to go bold,” said Marielena Hincapié, the executive director of the National Immigration Law Center.
“He’s doing it on student debt, he’s doing it on minimum wage, if Congress won’t act, he will, he should do everything at his disposal,” she added.
However, it’s kind of ironic that illegal immigrants now look towards him since he is – notoriously – known as the “deporter-in-chief.”
A New York Times report, released earlier this year on April 7, revealed how the president – even four months into 2014 – wasn’t doing enough to stop the rampant deportation of undocumented immigrants.
In fact, nearly two million people have been sent back to their countries ever since Obama took office in the year 2009.
The alarming figures prompted nationwide protests called “Two Million Two Many” in almost 40 cities against the U.S. administration’s draconian immigration policies which are – according to the demonstrators – separating and dividing families.