Rep. Lou Barletta: Immigration bill 'isn't good for America'

Pennsylvania lawmaker sounds off


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," July 1, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: To Las Vegas now, where Harry is in a hurry, Harry Reid rallying up the troops this very hour at the Culinary Union Hall, as the immigration battle over immigration reform heads to the House, after winning easy passage in the Senate. Reid passing the baton to Illinois Democrat Luis Gutierrez, and it's what they're cooking up that has got my next guest worried after that.

Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Lou Barletta says that this bill amounts to a green flag for people to come here illegally and never be punished.

Congressman, thanks for joining us, I believe, on the phone.

You're not a fan of this, no way no shape no how. Why?

REP. LOUIS BARLETTA, R-PA.: No, this is not good for America.

Our policies should be based on what's in the national best interests of the American people. This bill doesn't stop illegal immigration. It doesn't make it easier to find a job. And it is not -- doesn't make us safer. It's not good for national security, so why in the world would we do it?

CAVUTO: So, Congressman, when the argument is that a majority of your colleague in the House, Republican colleagues, more to the point, feel the same way because they don't think there will be a Latino voter fallout because in many of your districts, I don't know how it is exactly in your district, there won't be any punishment meted out, but that it could hurt your party in the midterm elections in the aggregate.

Do you agree with that?

BARLETTA: Well, there's no doubt. There's no statistical data that supports that.

In 1986, when Ronald Reagan gave amnesty, we actually -- the Republican Party got less votes two years later, when George H.W. Bush was elected president. And in my case, as a perfect example, Neil, back 2006, nobody took a stronger position against illegal immigration. My city is 49 percent Latino. And I won with 90 percent of the vote. So there's no statistical data that this is the reason that Latinos would vote for Republicans. It's quite, quite the opposite. This is not good for the legal immigrants in America to bring in 20 or 30 million people to compete for their jobs or force people to work for less money.

CAVUTO: Congressman, I had John McCain here last week and he was talking about the border enforcement provisions are strong and that they do address some of your major concerns, and that that is very different than the '86 immigration measure passed by and signed by Ronald Reagan.

What do you say?

BARLETTA: I disagree with that.

This is the promise again, just like they promised in 1986. Ronald Reagan's promise was we will give amnesty and promise the American people we will secure the borders. What are we doing now in 2013? We want to give 11 million people or more amnesty and again promise the American people that we're going to secure the borders.

If everyone wants to secure the borders so badly, why don't we just do that? Why don't we just secure the borders and then we could have that conversation with the American people about what do you do with the people that are here?

CAVUTO: You don't take them at face value, sir, that that's exactly what this law if it became law would do, to address the border thing first before they even get to legalizing illegals?

BARLETTA: No, I don't believe that at all.


BARLETTA: In fact, because they wanted more traction for their bill they decided we will double the amount of Border Patrol. Well, why not triple or quadruple? Say whatever we have to say.

CAVUTO: You just don't -- yes, you just don't trust them.

Then let me ask you this. There are many conservatives within your party, Congressman, who say that any Republican, they say RINO, Republican in name only, who votes for this, as was the case in the Senate, should be looking at a primary challenge at the very least next year. Do you agree with that?

BARLETTA: Well, one thing I do agree upon, we have been, as a laser, on our fiscal responsibilities and getting our fiscal house in order. I don't know how any conservative on the House side could ignore what the costs of this bill will be to the American taxpayers, looking at the Heritage Foundation's study.

CAVUTO: Right.

BARLETTA: So, I don't understand -- other than politics, I cannot find another reason why somebody would support this.

CAVUTO: Congressman, thank you very much. We will watch very, very, very closely, Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania.

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