Rep. Gallego: "Immigration is a bad word for many Republicans"

(CBS News) -- As the immigration debate heats up in the House, Nancy Cordes sat down with Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Texas, whose district includes the largest section of the United States' border with Mexico to talk about the debate over reform.
"I think immigration is a bad word for many Republicans," he said. Gallego pointed to factions within the Republican party as the key factor holding up legislation in the House.
"It seems to me that here in Washington, people talk about it in terms of Democrats versus Republicans," he said. "But the bigger fight right now is not between the Republicans and the Democrats. There's a fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party."
"We have a two party system that I think can work well if people make an effort," Gallego continued, "but no one is used to a three party system, and that's what we have right now."
While Gallego's district is 66 percent Hispanic, he rejects the idea that immigration is a purely racial issue. 
"It's not a Latino issue, it's not a Hispanic issue--it's an economic issue, and it impacts everybody," he told Cordes. 
Gallego emphasized the economic incentives of trade with Mexico, an important trading partner for the United States. He also explained how trade with Mexico is particularly important for the border states, and how long waits at the border recently have caused border cities and states to lose money.
"It's just so unfortunate that as we get adjusted to this global economy that the U.S. is even thinking about building walls" lamented Gallego.
Those walls and other increased border security measures that Republicans in the House are pushing for might not be worth the price tag, according to the Congressman.
Gallego insists a wall and doubling the number of border patrol agents wouldn't work for countless reasons, the primary one being that "you can't afford it." And it probably isn't even necessary, because people who live in the border states understand that border security is a "relative term," according to Gallego.
"If we could get some people from other states to come spend a couple of nights on the border and understand what we see every day, they would understand that we sleep well."
Turning to state politics, Gallego says that while the Republicans still have the upper hand in the Lone Star state, the political landscape shows signs of shifting. 
"I think the post-Rick Perry Texas is a Texas that is more competitive between the Democrats and Republicans," he explained. "I think the Republicans still have a huge advantage, but I think if we're arguing that competition is good for the system, then I think a stronger two-party system in Texas is inevitable and I think that it will happen."
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