House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, caught up in unwanted turmoil from a Republican primary challenger over his record on immigration reform, has pointed to a traditional rallying point for conservatives to bolster his position: the Bible.
Explaining why he supports amnesty for the children of illegal immigrants, Cantor told a local interviewer in his 7th District in Virginia that it's "biblical."
"I've always said that there's a biblical root and a tradition in this country that says we don't hold children liable for their parents' acts, and when you have kids who may have been brought here, let's say, at 2 months old, unbeknownst to them, and they've been here all their lives and they want to serve in our military, my position has been I agree with that principle," he told "The John Fredericks Show."
"They should be allowed to serve in our military and be allowed to become part of this country as a citizen, but not their parents. Not the ones who committed the illegal act. So, this is the difficulty."
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Cantor has taken tremendous heat from conservatives in recent days for his record on immigration.
Primary challenger David Brat last week called him "the No. 1 Republican supporter of amnesty" at a news conference deliberately held a few feet from another news conference in which fervent pro-amnesty Democrat Rep. Luis Gutierrez of Illinois pilloried Cantor as a staunch opponent of immigration reform.
Brat accused Gutierrez of staging an act of political theater intended to boost Cantor's standing among conservative Republicans.
Brat pointed out that Cantor had appeared with Gutierrez on a pro-immigration reform tour.
"You would have to be pretty gullible not to see a link there," Brat said, according to Breitbart.
Also last week, conservative talk radio host Laura Ingraham
slammed Cantor for saying in campaign literature that he was leading the congressional fight against amnesty.
"What are the Republicans getting out of Eric Cantor being House majority leader?" Ingraham asked, adding that despite his claims to the contrary, there was one certainty about Cantor: "he's all in for amnesty."
"Now he's claiming he's something he's not," Ingraham exclaimed.
House Speaker John Boehner and Cantor listed immigration reform
as a top 2014 Republican priority during a closed-door meeting in January with GOP members of Congress.
Brat's campaign manager says Cantor is acting out of fear.
"He's realizing that voters in his district are overwhelmingly against [immigration reform], and all of a sudden he says he's against amnesty," Zachary Werrell
told the Daily Caller last week.
Cantor's campaign manager accuses the challenger of being the one distorting Cantor's record.
Cantor stopped President Barack Obama's immigration reform bill "when it came out of the Senate," Ray Allen told the Caller, adding that the campaign won't back down from its description of the seventh-term congressman as an anti-amnesty stalwart.
District voters "are not going to fall for these outright lies that Brat is selling."
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