Top House Republican Softens Stance on Path to Citizenship

"There are millions of people who are not U.S. citizens who are in long lines waiting to avail themselves of those opportunities who have followed the legal process," he said. "So focusing on where we can find that common ground on legal status would be a good step."

Goodlatte also did not rule out a bipartisan plan being drafted in the Senate that includes an earned pathway to citizenship, but requires federal immigration authorities to meet a "trigger" for border security before a pathway could go forward. But he did say he still has "concerns" about various immigration-reform proposals that have been floated in public.

"We would like to see what they produce. We'll then take that and at the same time take the temperature of the members of the committee, the members of the House and see what we can find as a common ground," he said. "I do have concerns about a lot of the different proposals that I've seen. Rather than negotiate those concerns in public, I think it's better to let the process work and see what kind of consensus we can develop."

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