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The Defeat of Enlist Act Amnesty and Why #Primaries Matter

On April 10, Breitbart reported that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) had made a pledge last year to help Rep. Jeff Denham (R-CA) pass his ENLIST Act amnesty.  This bill would essentially invite illegals to join the military and turn our armed forces into a visa mill for open borders.  As Denham made his push to add the ENLIST Act to the NDAA in committee, he claimed that Cantor was very “supportive” of his effort.

Well, after five weeks of conservative fury about this odious iteration of amnesty, the effort to pass ENLIST is officially dead.  And the man who killed it was Eric Cantor.  Evidently, Cantor has not only committed to blocking amnesty in the NDAA, he will oppose efforts to bring this bill to the floor as a stand-alone legislation.

Cantor’s bold opposition to this bill is all the more peculiar given his past support for similar proposals.  He has not been shy about holding up the DREAM Act – a related amnesty proposal – as a “priority” for the future of the GOP.

However, there is no enigma about what transpired this week with Eric Cantor.  Whenever you witness a sudden shift to the right in a Republican member, look no further than electoral politics.

Despite the bravado from amnesty supporters who claim ubiquitous support for their proposals, they know that their views don’t sell with the electorate, certainly not with GOP primary voters.  That is why they keep searching for surreptitious means of passing amnesty.  They know that once the electorate is fully mobilized for several weeks against the proposal, they will face serious backlash.

In Cantor’s case, he has a primary challenger, Dave Brat, who has been gaining more traction in recent weeks.  Although Brat faces a monumental task with such little money, Cantor felt threatened enough to go up on broadcast television and attack Brat as a liberal.  Moreover, Cantor badly wants to be Speaker next year, and even a minor primary challenger will focus too much attention on his pro-amnesty positions.  Hence, the U-turn on ENLIST.

But if Cantor is really serious about fighting open borders instead of winning the next election, he would swear off all amnesty and join the fight against Obama’s administrative end-runs around Congress.  In fact, it is precisely the support of the Dream Act from people like Cantor that is likely triggering a new surge in border crossings by young people from Latin America.  It has gotten so bad that DHS is setting up emergency shelters in south Texas to deal with the influx of people invited into the country by the open borders crowd.  Will Cantor swear off his amnesty proposals until border and interior enforcement is properly implemented and Obama commits to restoring the law?

Don’t hold your breath.

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