On Wednesday, Graham and Sen. Marco Rubio made the rounds on conservative talk radio, with the Florida Republican planning for more appearances on Thursday. The initial reaction on the right was far less intense than they anticipated, proponents said. Rubio’s offices in Washington and Florida received fewer than 500 calls on immigration Wednesday, with more than 150 of those in favor of his bill, according to a source in his office…

“I think our Republican colleagues are torn: A good portion of their right-wing constituency is against the bill,” Schumer said. “But at the same time, they know that the way the Republican Party can get well nationally is by getting something done. And so if the House members, which are more conservative, see only five or six [Senate] Republicans voting for this, it’s a whale of a difference than if we see 20.”…

House Republicans, like Rep. Lamar Smith of Texas, were already bashing the bill, and a Senate GOP leader, John Cornyn, was wary about the border security provisions in the proposal. A prospective 2016 presidential candidate, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, was preparing to offer amendments designed to pull the bill to the right. And pro-immigration activist groups were eager to move it leftward, including working to ensure that same-sex couples are afforded protections now ignored in the massive proposal.

“It’s worse than we thought,” said Smith, who formerly chaired the Judiciary Committee. He added: “It’s amnesty on a massive scale, greater than we anticipated,” Smith said. “And we took their word that the border was going to be secured before the other reforms were implemented and that’s not the case.”