Cantor Has Not Looked at Details of Senate Immigration Reform Plan, But Hopes for ‘Quick’ Solution

By Penny Starr | February 6, 2013 | 11:49 AM EST

House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) ( Starr)

( – House Majority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he has not looked at the “details” of the immigration reform proposals announced last week by a group of eight Senators, including offering individuals who are in the country illegally a “fair path to citizenship.”

“I’ve not looked at the details of what the Senate has put out,” Cantor said in response to a question asked about whether or not he agrees with the principles for immigration reform proposals put forth by the senators, including Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “I will say that I look to and admire the work that Senator Rubio has done and in that spirit think that we can work towards a solution and do so in quick fashion.”

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Cantor spoke at what was billed a major policy speech on Tuesday at the American Enterprise Institute. In his remarks, Cantor said he supported “an opportunity for legal residence and citizenship for those who were brought to this country as children and know no other home.”

“While we are a nation that allows anyone to start anew, we are also a nation of laws, and that’s what makes tackling the issue of immigration reform so difficult,” Cantor said. “In looking to solve this problem soon, we gotta balance respect for the rule of law and respect for those waiting to enter this country legally, with care for the people and families, most of whom just want to make a better life, and contribute to America.

“A good place to start is with the kids,” Cantor said. “One of the great founding principles of our country was that children would not be punished for the mistakes of their parents.

“And 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,” Cantor said.

“I’m pleased that many of my colleagues in both chambers of Congress on both sides of the aisle have begun work in good faith to address these issues,” Cantor said. “And I’m pleased these discussions make border security, employment verification and creating a workable guest worker program immediate priorities.

“It’s the right thing to do for our families, for our security, and for our economy,” Cantor said.

The “gang of eight” senator’s principles for immigration reform include “a tough but fair path to citizenship,” reformation of the legal immigration system, an “effective employment verification system,” a guest worker program and increased border security.

The “gang of eight” includes Rubio, and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), John McCain (R-Ariz.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.)