WASHINGTON — Immigration reform advocates immediately called on newly-elected House majority leader Kevin McCarthy to schedule a vote on the issue after his election on Thursday.
The joint statement — made by six national Latino and four Asian American and Pacific Islander groups — about McCarthy’s election began with the headline: “Set a Date for Immigration Reform or Own Killing America’s Best Chance for a Lasting Solution.”
“With his ascension up the House GOP leadership ladder, McCarthy now has an opportunity to lead his party’s conference toward a broad, pragmatic solution favored by a majority of voters across the U.S. and in his district,” the groups said.
The statement continued: “The new Majority Leader can either schedule a House floor vote on workable immigration reform or he can kill the best chance in decades to fix the immigration system and miss a big opportunity to work with Latino, AAPI, and immigrant communities. Our communities and our country need a response now.”
During a closed-door meeting Thursday afternoon, GOP lawmakers voted for McCarthy, currently the body’s chief whip.
Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced his resignation from the leadership position last week after surprisingly losing his Republican primary race. Cantor will officially step down next month.
The organizations that issued the statement included: Hispanic Federation, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement, the League of United Latin American Citizens, Mi Familia Vota Education Fund, National Council of La Raza and Voto Latino.
The statement pointed out that McCarthy “represents a largely farmworker district that is 35 percent Latino and 5 percent Asian American and Pacific Islander.”
It also mentioned that McCarthy’s election comes near the one-year anniversary of the Senate’s passage a comprehensive immigration reform bill. That legislation has not yet been brought up in the House.