Conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham on Tuesday warned Rep. Raul Labrador he is "squandering" an opportunity to win over conservative voters because of his support for increasing legal immigration.
Labrador, R-Idaho, is running for House majority leader as an underdog conservative alternative to Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who is currently the House whip. Labrador made the rounds on the conservative talk show circuit, including a live interview with Ingraham.
“I think if we do it the right way we can reform the economy,” Labrador said.
But Ingraham, a staunch opponent of increased immigration, said Labrador was essentially aligning himself with Democrats and current Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., who lost his primary last week to GOP opponent Dave Brat, who pledged not to back reform efforts.
Ingraham campaigned for Brat, holding a rally weeks before the primary.
“The American people do not want this,” Ingraham said, referring to Labrador’s proposal to create a guest worker program and increase legal immigration.
Ingraham told Labrador House Republicans, "are looking to you as the conservative alternative to Kevin McCarthy."
Labrador refused Ingraham’s request that he sign a pledge not to take up any immigration reform legislation that increases the number of U.S. immigrants or provides legalization or work authorization for anyone who is now living here illegally.
“I think if we do it the right way,” Labrador said, “We can grow the economy.”
Labrador served as an immigration lawyer for 15 years. He said if he is elected majority leader, he’ll push first for border security before reforming other parts of the nation’s immigration system.
But Ingraham said Labrador’s support of linking enforcement with other reform measures, including increasing immigration, is not what voters want in a struggling economy.
“You’re just wasting your time and you are squandering your conservative bona fides in the process,” Ingraham told him. “You are squandering such a great opportunity to bond in a populist way with those American voters who are struggling now, they are looking for people like you, to lead them out of this horrible economic disaster they are in.”
Labrador said he would refuse to work with the president until he starts enforcing current immigration laws and stops the influx of tens of thousands of immigrant children who are pouring over the border in Texas, seeking a way to remain here legally.
Labrador blamed the influx of illegal immigrants on the president’s executive order halting the deportation of young people who came to the United States illegally as children.
“He invited all of those children to come to the United States,” Labrador told Ingraham. “I would tell the president to send some planes and send all of those children back home.”