Rep. Cotton slams Democratic opponent over illegal immigration

This is a rush transcript from "Your World," August 5, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: In the meantime, Democratic Congresswoman Barbara Lee may be ashamed of this country for the way it's treating these tens of thousands of young illegals who recently landed here, but she seems to be about the only one who is, because most Democrats aren't saying anything like that.

In fact, they're not saying anything. And when it comes to vulnerable Democrats, I really mean, nothing, nada, zip, zilcho.

But Arkansas Republican candidate Tom Cotton sure is talking.


NARRATOR: Our southern border, chaos and crime. Washington made the mess. Senator Mark Pryor voted for amnesty, citizenship for illegals. Pryor voted against a border fence three times, and now Pryor ignores the crisis.

SEN. MARK PRYOR, D-ARK.: We have a much more secure border today than we did 10 years ago.

NARRATOR: Seriously, Senator?

PRYOR: We have a much more secure border today than we did 10 years ago.

NARRATOR: It's time to retire Pryor.


CAVUTO: All right. We reach out to Senator Pryor's office to get a reaction to that and we have yet to hear back.

But, Congressman, you're saying that he dropped the ball on this, essentially, right?


We have a crisis at our border. It's in chaos, and the chief cause of that crisis is Barack Obama's refusal to enforce our immigration laws, to in fact grant unilateral presidential amnesty to hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants, and liberal senators like Mark Pryor voting to give amnesty to so many more.

It's not surprising when you give that kind of amnesty that you have hundred hundreds of thousands of new illegal immigrants trying to get across the border before the amnesty...


COTTON: ... expires.


CAVUTO: How are they giving that -- Congressman, how are they giving that amnesty? What are they doing?

COTTON: Well, first, the president two years ago suspended the immigration laws as it relates to a class of hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants who are currently here.

And, second, Mark Pryor has voted to grant amnesty to almost 12 million illegal immigrants who are currently in our country. Word gets out very quickly across the world when American politicians don't have the willpower to enforce our borders and enforce our immigration laws. That's the chief cause of the crisis we see on our southern border today.

CAVUTO: Well, Congressman, if the president, as some suspect, after Labor Day, holds off the deportation of millions of illegals, do you think that would be an impeachable offense?

COTTON: Neil, the House took action last week to prevent exactly that. The Senate did not.

In fact, Mark Pryor voted not just to support the president's past executive amnesty.


CAVUTO: I'm not talking about Mark Pryor, sir.


CAVUTO: I'm just saying, if the president did that by executive order, while Republicans have sort of tiptoed around this idea whether they want to pursue impeachment -- John Boehner says no -- would an action like that, you know, calling off the deportation of millions of illegals here, warrant such action?

COTTON: Neil, I don't want to engage in speculation about hypothetical actions the president may or may not take.

What we did in the House last week was stay past our scheduled recess date and pass legislation that would stop exactly that kind of unilateral presidential amnesty by denying federal funding and federal resources from the -- to the president and all agencies to implement such an order.

CAVUTO: But there's a difference between...

COTTON: The Senate, by contrast, packed up and went home.

CAVUTO: I understand, sir, but there's a difference between suing a president over those actions and taking stiffer actions that some would say might be warranted if he were to take it to the next level and hold off millions of deportations. Right?

COTTON: No, Neil, the legislation I'm mentioning is not the lawsuit which is based primarily on his refusal to enforce Obamacare provisions.

CAVUTO: Right. I know this is the separate immigration issue.

COTTON: This is about immigration legislation that would stop this kind of executive amnesty or provide more funding for governors like Rick Perry to enforce -- enforce our border and expedite the removal of these new illegal immigrants at our border, rather than expediting the settlement of them inside the United States.

CAVUTO: When -- when Congresswoman Lee of -- of California had said she was ashamed of this country, given its treatment of these illegals, what did you think of that?

COTTON: That's the first I have heard of Congresswoman Lee's comments.

I'm proud our country's long and distinguished history of offering protection to those who have faced religious persecution or political persecution or persecution because of their sex or their race or their ethnicity.

However, we are a country with borders. And we can't simply open those borders to every country that has high crime rates or much poverty. We wouldn't have borders. We wouldn't have a sovereign country anymore.

But what we should be doing is encouraging people to apply for asylum if they're genuine victims of persecution in their own countries, and come here legally.

CAVUTO: All right.

COTTON: That's the right thing to do for them and for all Americans who are here today.

CAVUTO: All right, Congressman, thank you very much.

COTTON: Thank you.

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