By Ben Goad - 07/14/13 09:06 PM EDT
Diaz-Balart is a member of the Gang of Seven in the House working on a bipartisan immigration compromise.
But immigration reform faces a tough fight in the House, where many conservative Republicans oppose the pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants included in the Senate bill and want tougher measures on border security.
The Senate bill passed with the support of 14 GOP lawmakers.
Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) though has said the measure is dead on arrival in the House. He has also vowed not to move legislation without the support of a majority of the GOP conference.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) has said he will take a piecemeal approach rather than move a comprehensive bill.
Diaz-Balart said he believed the Republican leadership was resolved to bring legislation to the floor.
Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) said his GOP colleagues are serious about reforming the nation’s immigration system and could support legalizing some illegal immigrants but preferred to take up provisions one at a time, rather than in a comprehensive package.
“Is there is a path to citizenship? I think there is. But I think our plan is about breaking it into separate pieces,” he said.
But Sen. Dick Durbin, a member of the Gang of Eight who crafted the Senate bill, faulted Boehner’s approach.
“This can’t be done by the Republican caucus in the House,” Durbin argued. “It should be done on a bipartisan basis.”