Rep. Eric Cantor helped cause the wave of illegal immigrant kids who are now sweeping over the border from Mexico, says his primary opponent, Dave Brat.
The GOP’s majority leader in the House has been pushing to pass an amnesty for millions of illegals who claim to be under 30, and that “sends a signal abroad that is ‘get the kids across the border because there’s an opening,’” Brat told The Daily Caller.
The influx has grown 10-fold since 2011, up to almost 60,000 this year, according to one estimate. Officials also predict that up to 130,000 youths will try to cross the border in 2015.
White House officials said June 2 that the wave of illegal immigrants is a humanitarian problem – not a border enforcement problem — and it needs to be ameliorated with free bed and board, plus education and health services, plus transport to parents or friends living in the United States.
Officials did not announce plans to step up border security, or to use a presidential speech or advertising spots to deter or persuade youths to avoid the dangerous trip.
They also denied that the influx is spurred by President Barack Obama’s support for amnesties for younger immigrants.
But the flood “is a direct result of the Obama-Cantor collusion on the so-called ‘Dream Act’ and the statements and signals sent around the world by both Obama and Cantor,” said Brat.
Ray Allen, Cantor’s campaign chief, declined to comment about Brat’s charge.
Brat is the underdog in the 7th district primary fight, partly because Cantor is the incumbent with name recognition, plenty of donations and support from many senior Republicans. It’s a high-stakes fight — if Cantor loses, or just squeezes through, the GOP caucus will likely reject the billion-dollar immigration bill push by business and progressive groups.
Brat is also behind in the polls, but is catching up a week before the June 10 vote, he told TheDC.
He’s drawing support from many conservatives and Tea Party supporters, including radio host Laura Ingraham, who is headlining an evening June 3 rally in the district alongside Richmond, Va.
One of his major campaign themes is steady criticism of Cantor’s decision to support legislation that would allow a form of multi-stage amnesty for up to 12 million illegals of all ages.
The influx of new migrants would drive down wages, and make it harder for Americans — especially the four million Americans who turn 18 each year — to find jobs, he told TheDC. “The more people coming in, then the labor supply curves up, [and] wages drop down,” said Brat, who has headed the economics and business department at Randolph-Macon College for the past six years.
In response, Cantor has touted his opposition to the current amnesty plan approved by the Senate in June 2013.
But Brat argues that Cantor has repeatedly announced his support for aspects of the Senate immigration rewrite.
For example, Brat is challenging Cantor’s decision to support a boost in the current guest-worker program that allows U.S. corporations and universities to hire more than 200,000 lower-wage foreign professionals each year. Cantor also endorsed a 2013 deal to allow roughly tens of thousands more blue-collar workers in each year.
“Creating a workable guest worker program [is] an immediate priority [and] is the right thing to do for our families, for our security, and for our economy,” Cantor said in a February 2013 speech.
That’s “crony capitalism” Brat said. “It only makes sense if you’re a crony capitalist who has turned your back on the people and are serving giant corporations,” he said.
Cantor also used the same speech to call for a youth amnesty that Brat says deserves some of the blame for the latest influx of younger border crossers. “A good place to start [an immigration rewrite] is with the kids,” Cantor said in the February 2013 speech to the D.C.-based American Enterprise Institute.
“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,” he declared.
“It’s irresponsible to announce this,” said Brat. Foreign youths “want another life [in the United States], but they have no idea of the intricacies of U.S. [immigration] policy. So if they get the wrong word — that the U.S. is preparing to let a lot of people in, that there’s a ‘Dream Act’ [amnesty for younger illegals]… parents are sending their kids across for a better life,” he said.