(CNSNews.com) - Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) says that "based on current events," the House will likely not take up immigration reform anytime soon.
"I think immigration reform is a very broad term for a lot of immigration issues. We will not take up the Senate bill. We will not take up a bill that can be conferenced with the Senate,” Duncan told CNSNews.com when asked if he agreed with House Speaker John Boehner that the House should tackle immigration reform this year.
“We believe, and I’ll speak for Speaker Boehner based on our conversation, we believe in rule of law and secure borders," Duncan said.
“I believe if we do anything, and I don’t think we will based on current events, but if we do anything, it’ll be to try to force the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to actually enforce the law," he added.
Duncan also stated that he would not support the pathway to citizenship for over 11 million immigrants who entered the U.S. illegally that was included in the immigration bill passed by the Senate last June.
In April, Boehner mocked his Republican House colleagues for what he called their lack of “appetite” for immigration reform.
But a day after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) was defeated by Tea Party challenger Dave Brat in a primary contest that largely focused on the economic consequences of immigration reform, other Republicans also said that the economy was their top priority.
Cantor supported the principles of the Dream Act, which would provide a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants brought to America as children.
But Brat criticized Cantor’s position: “Eric Cantor is saying we should bring more folks into the country, increase the labor supply - and by doing so, lower wage rates for the working person."
Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) echoed Brat’s remarks, stressing the importance of the economy when considering immigration reform and denouncing efforts to create a pathway to citizenship:
“Most organized countries have immigration systems where 75 percent is based on skills and a smaller percentage is based on other factors, and our country is exactly the opposite. Our country has the most liberal immigration policy in the world,” Rice told CNSNews.com.
“We allow 1.1 to 1.2 million illegal immigrants per year, 75 percent of which is based on family relationship. We import a lot of people who are not educated, who end up on the social safety net. That is extremely poor planning and bad for our worldwide competitiveness.
“So, in terms of immigration reform, if we would switch to a system that, like every other country, allows people to immigrate based on skill set to make us more competitive, that’s something I could get behind. Now would I provide for a pathway to citizenship or make the people illegally here legal? No, I would not.” Rice added.
Rep. Tom Marino (R-PA) also stressed the primacy of the economy when considering immigration reform.
“I think it [immigration reform] is very important, but one of the main issues in this country that we have to deal with is creating jobs, and that’s at the top of my list,” he told CNSNews.com.