Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.) said on Tuesday that Democrats support immigration reform only because it would mean more votes for Democratic candidates.
Speaking at a Tea Party meeting in Quincy, Ill., that was recorded by the Quincy Journal, Walsh told the audience that he has inside information on the reason Democrats support a path to citizenship.
"Democrats have told me privately the reason -- the principle reason -- they want to legalize 16 million illegal immigrants is because those are votes," Walsh said. But, he added, Democrats "will not say that publicly" and "Republicans are afraid to call them out on it."
The so-called gang of eight, a bipartisan group of eight senators that has been working on immigration reform policy, said its bill would include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.
Walsh, who also told the audience that he's "certainly considering running for governor," has been vocal in the past about immigration reform. While serving in the House in 2012, Walsh described President Barack Obama as a "tyrant" after the administration said it would no longer deport undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and would begin granting work permits.
The Tea Party darling touched on a number of other issues in an energetic question-and-answer session, ranting about the deterioration of people's morals and attributing it to a lower church-going rate.
"We've forgotten what marriage is," Walsh said. "We don't go to church. We think it's okay to kill babies in and out of the womb. I live near a city where people are gunned down every day and that's only because they have no family structure and no moral structure. But if I say something like that to the Rev. Jesse Jackson, I'm a racist ... We've lost our way religiously. That's not how we were founded."
After being defeated by Democrat Tammy Duckworth in November, Walsh has been anything but quiet. He caused a stir at a town hall meeting last month when he described Americans as "lazy" and "stupid" regarding politics.
Chelsea Kiene contributed to this report.
Watch a video of Walsh's remarks on immigration above, starting at the 2:55 mark (courtesy of the Quincy Journal).