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Tale of Two Republicans on Immigration

The first full day of the five-week Congressional recess was not yet over and two House Republicans were already making very different news on the issue of the day: immigration.

Reps. Daniel Webster of Florida and Paul Broun of Georgia painted a picture of two GOP schools of thought on how to proceed on an immigration rewrite— one backing a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants and the other opposing any bill that would legalize anyone.

Webster, in an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, came out as a supporter of an immigration overhaul package that provides a pathway to citizenship for the nation’s roughly 11 million undocumented immigrants.

“We’re a nation of immigrants, there’s no question about that. But we’re also a nation of laws,” Webster told the Sentinel. “I think we have to honor both of those.”

Though providing that pathway would, for Webster, be conditional upon first securing the borders to prevent immigrants from entering the country illegally, immigration overhaul activists consider Webster’s endorsement a win for their cause.

“We congratulate Congressman Webster on his decision to get on the same page as 81% of its constituents who also want a fix to our nation’s broken immigration system,” said Mi Familia Vota’s Florida State Director Elena McCullough in a statement Monday. “There is no doubt that … Congressman Webster’s public support for reform comes from an understanding of a demographically changing district, where over 15% of its potential electorate is Latino.”

And then there’s Broun, also a candidate for Senate, who on Monday released a statement about a resolution he has introduced that would express the sense of the House that “any immigration reform proposal adopted by Congress should not legalize, grant amnesty for, or confer any other legal status condoning the otherwise unlawful entry or presence in the United States of any individual.”

That would effectively kill immigration efforts this year; Obama is demanding a path to citizenship be in any bill that reaches his desk.

“This resolution will not only stop future illegal immigration in our country, but it will also stop the outrageous growth of spending that will occur if amnesty became law,” Broun said. “We simply cannot afford to take on the extra costs of legalizing 11.5 million illegal immigrants, which would create a new wave of spending under entitlement programs, and burden taxpayers with a slew of unnecessary costs.”

We’re sure they won’t be the last to weigh in on the issue during what promises to be a long, hot August break.