Lee Terry, Bill Shuster, Kevin McCarthy

McCarthy has expressed support for legal status before. | AP Photo

By SEUNG MIN KIM | 1/22/14 9:34 AM EST

The third-ranking House Republican is offering support for a path to legal status that would allow millions of undocumented immigrants in the country to work and pay their taxes.

In a new interview published late Tuesday, House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) hinted that those contours of legal status may be included in the immigration principles that House GOP leaders are poised to soon release.

“The principles aren’t combined or written out yet, but in my personal belief, I think you’ll go with legal status,” McCarthy told KBAK/KBFX Eyewitness News in Bakersfield, Calif. “That it will allow you to work [and] pay your taxes.”

McCarthy has expressed support for legal status before, but his comments take on renewed significance with the imminent release of immigration reform principles from House Republicans.

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