Third-Ranking House Republican Backs Legal Status for Immigrants

Russell Berman, The Hill, January 22, 2014

The third-ranking House Republican, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), said he backs granting legal status, but not a new pathway to citizenship, to millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

McCarthy stated his personal view on the contentious issue in an interview with KBAK/KBFX Eyewitness News in his hometown of Bakersfield, Calif. He signaled that the call for a provisional legal status would be included in the immigration reform principles House Republican leaders are soon to release.

“The principles aren’t written yet, but in my personal belief, I think it’ll go with legal status that will allow you to work and pay taxes,” McCarthy said.

McCarthy made clear he did not favor carving out a new path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million people in the country illegally. But his position appears to comport with the views of other senior Republicans who have called for illegal immigrants to have access to the existing route to citizenship once they receive an initial legal status and fulfill other requirements.

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The House GOP principles could be released before President Obama’s State of the Union address on Jan. 28 or at the House Republican Conference’s subsequent retreat in Cambridge, Md.

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