By Justin Sink - 03/28/13 03:37 PM EDT
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Thursday he believed lawmakers could strike a deal on immigration reform, although he cautioned that the comprehensive bill that President Obama is advocating could be "tough to come by."
"That is a tall order… Comprehensive things are tough to come by," Cantor said.
But the Virginia lawmaker said there was "a lot of interest" in reaching a deal. Earlier this week, President Obama said he expects the Senate to begin debate on a bill in April, and on Wednesday told Telemundo he believes a bill could be passed by the end of summer.
Cantor offered a more cautious outlook, saying Republicans still had significant reservations about border security. Some in the GOP have said that a pathway to citizenship for the country's 11 million illegal immigrants should be tied to quantifiable border security metrics.
"We've got to make sure border security is being implemented — that the law does start at our borders, and in weighing these two things, I think we can come to some agreement," Cantor said.
The Republican leader said at the very least, he believed the two sides could reach agreement on children brought to the United States illegally. Last year, President Obama announced that his administration would no longer seek deportations against those who illegally immigrated as children, did not commit crimes and either graduated or enlisted in the military.
Cantor said Thursday he'd like to see that type of policy codified into law.
"We’ve got an opportunity to come together on one point, and that is the kids. If a kid was brought here by his parents or her parents, unbeknownst to them, and know no other place than home, than America as home, why wouldn’t we want to give them a path to citizenship, and I think we should," Cantor said.