House Republicans emerged from a two-hour meeting held in the basement of Capitol Hill yesterday with an apparent consensus on immigration reform legislation: no comprehensive bill, and no rush to pass legislation at all.  Instead, it will take the "piecemeal" approach - small bills reflecting conservative priorities - or even no approach at all.  "I don't sense any urgency," Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) told the Associated Press.  Rep. Peter King (R-NY) said that if any legislation on immigration reform was going to be considered by Republicans this month, it would only address border security. 

The decision appears to dash the hope that the bipartisan "Gang of Eight" bill, which passed 68-32 in the Senate, might ever be introduced to the House floor.  Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said after the meeting that the Obama administration "cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate."  He and fellow GOP leaders pointed to the administration's decision last week to postpone a key part of the health care law as indicative that it can't be trusted to follow through on the commitments of the laws it makes.  They likely have in mind the stipulation in the Senate's bill which requires that the Department of Homeland Security submit a report within six months of the bill's passing on how it will achieve 100 percent surveillance of the US-Mexico border and a 90 percent apprehension rate of border-crossers before undocumented immigrants can gain legal status.

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The GOP's apparent killing of the Senate bill put in doubt the issue of legal status and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States.  Many of the party's members oppose any form of legalization - even for DREAMers, or those brought illegally to the US by their parents as young children -- as "amnesty".  "You can't separate the ... kids from those (parents) who came across the border with a pack of contraband on their back," Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) told Reuters after the meeting.

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But on the question of whether any of the undocumented should get citizenship or provisionary legal status, Republicans had not reached a consensus.  King said that his party was split "50/50" on granting legal status.  And House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is reportedly working on a plan to grant citizenship to DREAMers, though his party has blocked similar legislation in the past. 

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For the time being, though, the Republican consensus is "border-first".  Boehner has stated that he aims to get the House to pass legislation boosting border security before the chamber's four-week break in August.