It's a mistake to say the message of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary defeat is that voters don't want immigration reform, says Rep. Xavier Becerra, the House Democratic Caucus chairman.
Cantor had pushed for some form of immigration reform while his primary opponent, Dave Brat, opposed it. Brat, an economics professor, won the election with 55.5 percent of the vote to Cantor's 45.5 percent.
"I think people make a big mistake if they confuse the result in Eric [Cantor's] race with getting immigration reform done. The question for immigration reform is not if we'll get it done, it's when we'll get it done. It's going to get done," Becerra, of California, told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.
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Becerra said Cantor's defeat sends a message to lawmakers, telling them to "get your work done."
"Any Republican who believes that this is a message to not get immigration reform and to fix our broken immigration system, I think they do that at their peril," he said.
Becerra said Republicans in the House are being squeezed between doing things "the tea party way and the American way." He said lawmakers would find it "a lot harder to do things the tea party way than the American way."
Becerra says there are a "majority of votes" in the House to pass immigration reform and that the longer Republicans "let this simmer, the worse it gets within their party." He also cautioned that it was important not to "equate the tea party Republicans with Americans. "
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