Anti-Immigration Hard-Liners Remain Most United in GOP Caucus

Moderate Republicans offer myriad solutions but no consensus.

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, emerges from a closed-door meeting with House Republicans to work on an approach to immigration reform, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, July 10, 2013.
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"There is a national consensus that the borders are porous and they are not secure and that has to be done," says Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., who has been working for four years on a bipartisan comprehensive immigration bill that has yet to be released. "It has to be done in a way that is enforceable and enforced."

4. GOP hard-liners want deportation; everyone else is in disarray over what to do about 11 million: The most dividing aspect of reform for the caucus remains what to do with the 11 million immigrants who are currently living in the U.S. but who entered the country illegally.

"I am as conservative as they come and I think there is a fiscally conservative argument to some sort of a pathway [to legalization] because it grows our economy," says Rep. Trey Radal, R-Fla. "Immigration can grow this country and grow our economy."

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the Senate's immigration bill, which put immigrants on a path to citizenship, could grow the economy by $450 billion in the next decade.

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., however, found it unconscionable that Congress would reward immigrants who entered the country illegally with a path to citizenship. He and fellow immigration hard-liner Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, support a plan to deport immigrants one by one.

To make his point to his colleagues during the meeting, Brooks read from "America the Beautiful."

"Confirm thy soul in self control, thy liberty in law," Brooks said, reciting the poem again for reporters. "We should never support a policy that undermines the rule of law that is undermining what made our country what it is."

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