Rep. Pete King: Immigration reform is dead

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Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) on Capitol Hill on

Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) on Capitol Hill on Feb. 16, 2011. There may be some support among House Republicans for immigration legislation, but "Right now, I think no one wants to take that chance," King said June 11, 2014. Photo Credit: AP / Manuel Balce Ceneta

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Rep. Peter King (R-Seaford) said Wednesday one of the side effects of the primary defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is the death of legislation to overhaul immigration laws.

"Right now, as of this moment, immigration reform is dead," he said in a telephone interview.

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He said that assessment of the future of immigration legislation in the Republican-controlled House could change once the dust settles, and once all GOP factions have come to a conclusion on the reason Cantor lost by 11 percentage points to a little known college professor and tea party favorite, David Brat.

There may be some support among House Republicans for immigration legislation, but King said, "Right now, I think no one wants to take that chance."

There have been different assessments on whether Brat's focus on immigration was a defining difference between Cantor and him -- Brat's against immigration reform.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), who heads the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration, said in a Senate floor speech that Cantor's defeat actually makes getting an immigration bill passed easier.

Schumer described Cantor as the "choke point" of the process, not the enabler that Brat described him as.

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Schumer also pointed to the victory of his immigration bill co-sponsor Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) over a handful of tea party opponents in Tuesday's Republican primary in South Carolina as a sign that immigration legislation has a chance.

King, however, disagreed with Schumer's description of Cantor's role.

"That’s Chuck putting his spin on it," King said. "It's not true."

King has moved from being an outspoken opponent in the battle in 2006-2008 over immigration reform to a supporter of the Senate compromise bill passed nearly a year ago.

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