Chabot said he would not consider an immigration bill without "very substantial border control" and a visa policy that punishes those who "cut in front of the line by just coming here illegally." The current Senate bill fails those tests, he said.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said the Senate bill "is not palatable at this point" because it would allow "amnesty and lack of security" on the border.
Such opposition can't be pinned solely on the politics of isolated House districts. Republicans running statewide for the Georgia Senate seat, for instance, are among the immigration proposals' toughest critics.
"Everybody is committed to getting the issue dealt with," said Rep. Jack Kingston, but "the Senate amnesty bill probably is not going to do well in the House."
Rep. Paul Broun, also seeking Georgia's Senate nomination, said any immigration deal "must make English the official language of the country." The U.S.-Mexican border, he said, must be secured "totally, whatever it takes. A double fence high enough to make sure it's secure."
Some Republicans wince at talk of massive double fences and making English the official language. They say it fuels arguments that the GOP is unwelcoming to all Hispanics, legal or not.
The "amnesty" issue may be tougher legislatively. The Senate bipartisan team says its bill will collapse without a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants here illegally.
Supporters say the proposed pathway isn't "amnesty" because immigrants would have to earn citizenship through an arduous route that includes paying fines and taxes.
It's unclear how many House Republicans will buy that argument.
Defining "border security" also is crucial. The Senate bill's goal is for 90 percent of would-be crossers to be caught or turned back. But it doesn't make citizenship contingent on that target.
Several House Republicans say a border enforcement level of at least 90 percent must be documented before any pathway to permanent legal status — whether citizenship or not — could be started for the millions here illegally.
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