Well, in spite of my headline the answer is probably not, but there is some hope.
Rep. Cantor (R-VA) was the second-in-command in the Republican-majority House of Representatives. It is generally believed that any material Immigration Reform measure must be driven by the House Republicans. Rep. Cantor was generally known to be a pro-business Republican, who was helping push for immigration reform behind-the-scenes, or at least that is what his primary opponent, Dave Brat, led central Virginians to believe. Mr. Brat’s shocking primary upset on Tuesday seems to mean that immigration reform is dead for 2014.
So could Rep. Cantor’s loss actually help?
It seems unlikely but it may not be as bad as it seem today. For one, other immigration-friendly southern Republicans, such as Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), coasted to primary victories. Second, and the reason for my provocative headline, is Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). Rep. McCarthy is the next-in-line for Rep. Cantor’s No. 2 position within the House Republican leadership. As this article in the Irish Central points out, Rep. Cantor “represents a central California district where pro-immigrant issues, immigrant issues, such as the need for immigrant labor among the huge farming concerns, are critical. His district is 35 percent Latino and he is on record as favoring a version of immigration reform.”
Yet again leadership on the issue turns back to the Majority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH). Rep. Boehner has straddled the line between the pro and anti-immigration wings of his party, a line that seems aimless. If he can articulate a strategy immigration reform might have a chance. For now, all we have is glimmers of hope.