Under mounting pressure on immigration, Republican House Majority Leader Eric  Cantor will meet with Jewish advocates for reform on Thursday.

Cantor, who is viewed by immigration activists as holding the key for a  possible vote on immigration reform, has thus far turned down requests from  advocates to meet and has not engaged with Jewish groups on the issue. In  February, Jewish communal activists gathering at his hometown of Richmond, Va.,  sent a letter to Cantor urging him to meet with his Jewish constituents and discuss  immigration.

Cantor’s Jewish grandparents fled anti-Semitism in Russia and immigrated to  the United States in the early 20th century.

Following the event and after receiving the letter, Cantor’s office responded  and told organizers the Majority Leader is willing to meet to discuss  immigration reform.

The meeting will be framed as a discussion with local Jewish constituents,  rather than a national-level dialogue. It will be attended by three Richmond  rabbis and by representatives of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable and the  Reform Movement’s Religious Action Center. “We are going in with the best of  intentions,” said Abby Levine, director of the Jewish Social Justice Roundtable,  who noted that the goals of the meeting are to build a relationship with Cantor  and to “talk about the obstacles he sees in bringing the bill to a vote and how  we can work with him on that.”

As the highest-ranking Jewish House member, Cantor has come under increased  pressure in recent weeks to allow a vote on immigration reform. A coalition of  Jewish organizations, led by Bend the Arc, has launched a petition targeting Cantor on the immigration issue. “As American Jews, we believe in a  nation that grants today’s immigrants access to the same basic freedoms and  opportunities that drew our ancestors and yours,” the petition states. The drive  is backed by Jewish immigration and social justice groups, but national  organizations that had expressed support for immigration reform, such as the  Anti Defamation League, American Jewish Committee and the Jewish Council for  Public Affairs, would not sign on to a campaign directed at Cantor  personally.

Read more: http://forward.com/articles/195677/eric-cantor-agrees-to-meet-jewish-delegation-on-im/#ixzz2zAIgTeOC

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