Ros-Lehtinen becomes second Republican to back immigration bill

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) on Tuesday became the second House Republican to endorse immigration reform legislation from Democrats.

"It's important to keep the conversation going in trying to fix the broken immigration system. I favor any approach that will help us move the negotiations forward,” the congresswoman said in a statement that was provided to The Hill by a spokesman.

“Other Members may soon produce a bipartisan product that may also deserve support and I'm cautiously optimistic that we can pass meaningful immigration reform."

The bill’s chief sponsor, Rep. Joe Garcia (D-Fla.) first announced the news via Twitter.

The bill would provide a path to citizenship for immigrants in the U.S. illegally, increase border security and set in motion a broad overhaul of the immigration system.

Garcia introduced the legislation in early October, and it is based on the Gang of Eight legislation that the Senate passed in June.

Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he would not bring the Senate bill to the House floor.

Rep. Jeff Denham (Calif.) became the first Republican to support Garcia's measure over the weekend.

On Monday, Republican Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart (R) had been invited to the White House for a Tuesday meeting to discuss immigration reform efforts with President Obama. The meeting was canceled, however, late Monday.

Obama is pressuring House GOP lawmakers to pass immigration reform by the end of the year. He says he would be open to any measure so long as it includes a path to citizenship — which has long been the sticking point between the parties.