Rep. Becerra: Cantor's Loss Not a Rejection of Immigration Reform

By Susan Jones | June 11, 2014 | 9:10 AM EDT

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., delivers a concession speech in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, June 10, 2014. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)" type="node

( - House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's primary defeat was a "surprise," but it has nothing to do with his support for immigration reform, says Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), chair of the House Democratic Caucus.

"I think people make a big mistake if they confuse the result in Eric's race with getting immigration reform done. The question on immigration reform is not if we'll get it done, it's when we'll get it done," Becerra told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Wednesday.

"Even majorities of Republicans throughout the country, including in Eric Cantor's old congressional district, support immigration reform, comprehensive immigration reform. What people want to know, though, is how we're going to get it done so we don't have to do it again in 10 years. And so I believe what we're hearing here is the message, 'get your work done.'

"And any Republican, of course, who believes that this is a message to not get information reform (done) and to fix our broken immigration system -- I believe they do that at their peril."

Cantor's loss "likely was a result of being disconnected, somewhat out of touch with the district," Becerra said. "But at the end of the day, people want us to get things done. And with this do-nothing legislature, you know, eventually when you do nothing but message-build that never becomes law, people get it and they understand. And they send you a message. They don't like it and they react, and I suspect that's what we saw in the 7th District of Virginia."

Becerra said the American people don't want a Congress that "does nothing. We elect people to get things done."

Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) says Cantor's loss "settles the debate once and for all -- the Tea Party has taken control of the Republican Party.

"When Eric Cantor, who time and again has blocked common sense legislation to grow the middle class, can't earn the Republican nomination, it's clear the GOP has redefined 'far right.'"

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) was quoted as saying that Cantor’s defeat "does not change the fundamental fact that Republicans will become a minority party if they don’t address our broken immigration system.”