House Republicans met behind closed doors Wednesday to discuss their next move on immigration reform, and while top leaders agree something must be done, that's where the agreement ends. Washington bureau reporter Michael Scotto filed the following report for NY1.
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Top GOP leaders emerged from Wednesday's closed-door meeting feeling optimistic that they can tackle immigration reform.
"There is an emerging consensus that our immigration system's broken and there's a consensus that we need to fix it, and we need to do it in a very thorough way and we want to do it the right way," said Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan.
But that is where the consensus appears to end. After a lengthy discussion, the issue of offering citizenship to undocumented immigrants remains a major sticking point.
"I think a lot of us agree that a path to citizenship for those adults who broke the law coming in this country is a non-starter. Everything else is up for discussion," said New York Rep. Chris Collins.
"Legalization then leads to, ultimately, citizenship. That's the ultimate goal. But I think there's a step in between, because there's a lot of people on the waiting line right now waiting for their citizenship," said Rep. Michael Grimm, whose district covers Staten Island and part of Brooklyn.
There is some talk of drafting a bill that would give citizenship to immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children. Whatever consensus emerges from the House will likely be addressed in a piecemeal way. Republicans have ruled out a vote on the Senate bill, which many unfavorably compare to Obamacare.
The Obama administration is hoping some pressure will convince the House to change its mind and take up the Senate bill. Just hours before House Republicans met, the president huddled at the White House with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.
"We are convinced that immigration reform is now," said Texas Rep. Ruben Hinojosa said.
Republicans are well aware of the public campaign the White House is prepared to wage.
"We realize the optics of this, both policy and politically. We don't want the White House to somehow, the backdrop is to hope that we fail so they can make it a campaign issue," said Texas Representative Michael McCaul.
Those optics appear to be driving the House to take action, but what will eventually emerge is a huge question that likely won't be resolved for months.