Cantor and Boehner in May.
Former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) (L-R) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) hold a news conference after a Republican Party caucus meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington May 20, 2014. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

The stunning primary loss dealt to number two House Republican Eric Cantor by Tea Party challenger and anti-illegal immigration hardliner Dave Brat on Tuesday night has killed off any remaining hopes -- or illusions -- that immigration reform could pass this year. But immigrant advocates aren’t exactly mourning Cantor’s departure. The Washington Post reports that shortly after the former House majority leader conceded defeat in a Richmond ballroom, members of advocacy group CASA de Virginia broke in chanting pro-reform slogans, adding salt to the wounds of Cantor’s faithful.

In a statement released after news broke on Monday night, America’s Voice spokesman Frank Sharry said the former majority leader had been “no friend” of immigration reform despite his stated support for legislation that would extend a path to citizenship to Dreamers. “He’s been the main person in the House blocking a vote on citizenship, and he proudly campaigned on his opposition to reform,” Sharry said, adding that without Cantor’s efforts to block a comprehensive reform, House Speaker John Boehner could return to his prior efforts to convince the GOP rank-and-file to support action on the issue. “If the House GOP declares immigration dead, then we will turn to a President who has the authority to take executive action.”

Even as advocates and their Democratic allies in Congress continue to urge House Republicans to act on the issue before the August recess, spokespeople from two organizations looked ahead to probable executive action by President Barack Obama in the event, telling Buzzfeed that they hoped the president would take bold steps on the issue -- including extending protection from deportation already afforded to Dreamers to millions of other undocumented immigrants.

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