Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador

This freshman with rock-solid conservative credentials is high on the list of likely partners for Democrats on any immigration overhaul. Labrador certainly has the expertise; he practiced immigration law for years and started his own practice. And the Puerto Rico native, who moved to the mainland as a teenager with his single mother, brings a compelling personal tale to the debate.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.), a leading advocate for immigration reform, singled out Labrador as one of the best Republican allies for Democrats in any effort to overhaul immigration laws.

“Raul has the temperament, he has clear tea party credentials, he has a background on immigration and he wants to get this done,” Gutierrez said. “When I talk to Republicans, the one person they say I should talk to is Raul Labrador.”

Still, Labrador is at odds with Democrats who want immigration reform to be done in a comprehensive package that includes a pathway to citizenship for the estimated 11 million to 12 million illegal immigrants.

Labrador prefers a piecemeal approach.