By Justin Sink - 06/28/13 12:07 PM EDT
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) said Friday that she knows the Senate immigration bill is "not going to move in the House" and expressed fears that conservative Republicans will block any House legislation from proceeding.
But Ros-Lehtinen nevertheless is hopeful that Republicans can pass some sort of border security bill that would allow a comprehensive immigration reform deal to be struck in conference committee.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has said he will only proceed with immigration bills that have the backing of a majority of his Republican majority, dimming the prospects for the legislation that passed the Senate in a 68-32 vote on Thursday.
Ros-Lehtinen said she was most concerned that warring factions within the House would block any bill from proceeding, preventing a possible conference committee compromise.
"My fear is this -- that the more conservative members of our party will vote no because they worry about any bill getting into conference, even though they may agree with that border security bill, and many Democrats may vote no because they want to deal with the 11 million undocumented first," she said.
"We just need to get to conference and try to negotiate compromise."
The Miami Republican admitted that it would be a "very difficult" tightrope to walk, but said conservative Republicans felt the need to ensure border security protections after an immigration bill signed during Ronald Reagan's presidency failed to stop illegal immigration to the United States.
"We've got to make sure the American people trust and believe and we can prove to them that there will be border security," Ros-Lehtinen said.