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Immigration reform: How is the House approaching it?

Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives appeared divided on whether to provide immigrants living in the U.S. illegally a path to citizenship following a closed door meeting Wednesday. 

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Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, emerges from a closed-door meeting with House Republicans in Washington, Wednesday. The GOP leadership rejected the immigration bill passed by the Democratically controlled Senate and has not yet come up with a bill of its own.

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

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Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives emerged from an immigration meeting on Wednesday divided over whether to help the 11 million undocumented people living in the United States, but eager to bolster border security.

Several lawmakers said there appeared to be no consensus over calls for granting legal status to the 11 million, many of whom have lived in the United States for years, after a 2 1/2-hour closed-door session.

"We have a disagreement inside here," said Republican Representative Steve King, who guessed that his colleagues were split "50/50" on whether any of the undocumented residents should get legal status.

There will likely have to be an agreement between the Republican-led House and Democratic-led Senate, which last month approved a comprehensive immigration bill backed by the White House that includes a pathway to citizenship.

Backers of the Senate bill insist some sort of path to citizenship must be part of any final bill that they help send to President Barack Obama to sign into law.

The Republican lawmakers said there was consensus that the U.S. border should be secured further against illegal crossings and suggested that House Speaker John Boehner could seek passage of such a bill as a first step toward a larger agreement.

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