Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said any effort to address U.S. immigration policy should be done "one piece at a time."
"Yeah, I think we don't do comprehensive well — look at Obamacare," said McConnell on the radio program Joe Elliot Show last week. "I think we ought to take it up one piece at a time, and it begins really with finally once and for all securing the border. But there are other things that need to be addressed with the legal immigration system to make it better."
"There certainly is a lot that needs fixing in our immigration system, beginning with an insecure border, but the president has made it much more challenging now to address that issue," he said.
The Kentucky Republican described the country's border as "being kind of stormed by people" and it would be difficult to address other immigration related issues until it was fixed.
McConnell said he was a supporter of legal immigration, citing his wife, Elaine Chao, a former Bush administration cabinet secretary who immigrated to the country with her family from Taiwan, as a "good example."
"And we're all fans of legal immigration, we all are — I mean that's how we built this country — and my wife Elaine Chao is a good example of that, came here at age 8, not speaking the word of English, and she and her family have done well — she became a member of the president's cabinet — this is the American success story that immigration has brought about."
Earlier in the interview, McConnell said comprehensive tax reform would be a priority of the Republican-controlled Senate.