Kevin McCarthy, the California Republican who replaced Virginia representative Eric Cantor as House majority leader this month, said that there is an “opportunity” to negotiate for the legalization of illegal immigrants, but only after the border is secured.
“I believe there’s an opportunity,” he said on Fox News Sunday. “But if you don’t secure the borders, there’s nothing.”
McCarthy seemed determine not to repeat Cantor’s mistake of appearing out of step with the Republican base on immigration.
“I’m on record saying nothing about immigration, until we secure the borders,” McCarthy said. “Until you secure the borders, you cannot have the conversation about anything else.”
One of the top House Democrats advocating for legislation along the lines of the Senate immigration bill has given up, at least on the legislative process.
“Nothing’s going to happen,” Representative Luis Gutierrez told the Washington Post. “My point of view is, this is over. There’s no reason to continue to wait. Every day, 1,000 people get deported. The president should stop deportations. There’s no reason to wait.”
McCarthy blamed the current influx of unaccompanied children on a lack of border security.
“Look at the humanitarian crisis that is happening right now along the border states. These are children coming from three major countries in Central America. They’re going across. Kids are dying,” he said. “It’s because our borders are not secure.”