GOP congressman Kevin McCarthy calls for legalizing undocumented workers

California Rep. McCarthy, the third-ranking GOPer in the House, announces his support for limited reform VIDEO

Topics: Video, Kevin McCarthy, Undocumented immigrants, illegal immigration, Immigration, ,

GOP congressman Kevin McCarthy calls for legalizing undocumented workersHouse Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of Calif., right, joined by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite)

House Republicans haven’t yet revealed their immigration reform “principles,” but recent comments from the third-ranking member of the GOP’s House leadership may be a hint of what’s to come: Republican support for giving millions of undocumented immigrants legal status in the United States.

In an interview on Tuesday with a local Bakersfield television news station, Rep. McCarthy said that although the House GOP’s principles for reform ”aren’t written yet,” it is his “personal belief” that reform should provide undocumented immigrants with “legal status that will allow [them] to work and pay taxes.”

McCarthy was quick to emphasize the “personal” nature of his statement, saying, ”That’s a decision that every Republican will have to make in laying out the principles, but that’s my personal position.”

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Nevertheless, McCarthy’s position, while falling short of many reformers’ goals of providing undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship, could augur a new position for the Republican Party on the question of immigration in America. Up to this point, most Republicans have been vaguely noncommittal about (or openly hostile to) any plan that would provide undocumented immigrants with some form of legal status.

Watch McCarthy’s interview below, via KBFX Eyewitness News:

Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a staff writer at Salon, focusing on politics. Follow him on Twitter at @eliasisquith.

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