Asked on Fox News whether he sides with those two senators and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) or opponents of the immigration bill like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Huckabee chose the former.

“I’d say probably the Rubio, Corker, Hoeven [side],” Huckabee said…

He also said he doesn’t like the idea of so-called triggers that would allow illegal immigrants a path to citizenship once certain border security requirements are met.

“You don’t just wait and do nothing on the pathway process while you’re working on the fencing,” he said. “And let’s be clear: We’re never going to have 100 percent border security. There’s always somebody who’s going to find a way to break into the system.”

“I like what I see today, as long as it doesn’t change,” said Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who has signed on as a co-sponsor of the amendment and is considered a swing vote for the bill. Another co-sponsor is Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.), who’s already said she would vote for the overall legislation.

It’s not just undecided Republicans who might be more inclined to vote for the immigration bill with the Corker-Hoeven deal.

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, who has repeatedly broken from his party on border measures since floor debate began last week, told POLITICO that Thursday’s agreement makes the immigration bill “very much more palatable.” Arkansas Sen. Mark Pryor has also expressed concerns about border security and has been talking with Corker and Hoeven about their plan…

“We’ve already had quite a few sign up as co-sponsors,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said. “That would give us momentum and a significant number of votes to convince our colleagues on the other side of the Capitol that this is a worthwhile endeavor.”

From one perspective, immigration restrictionists are correct. In the current political atmosphere — the atmosphere they helped to create — immigrants who become citizens will be deeply suspicious of Republicans. So are current voters who have ties to or sympathy for immigrant communities. The problem is this: While killing immigration reform may slightly extend the viability of the current Republican political coalition, it may seriously undermine the attempt to adjust it…

This won’t be enough. While appealing to Hispanic voters is not like appealing to Manhattanites — it doesn’t involve the abandonment of social conservatism — it does require a populist economic agenda. Recent immigrants are naturally concerned about a working social safety net, a working public education system and a working job-training system. Republicans will need to offer serious reform proposals in these areas. And this requires a positive, active, market-oriented role for government that competes with more centralized and bureaucratic Democratic approaches.

RUSH LIMBAUGH: Now, again, it’s the New York Times, so you have to take that under advisement. But the New York Times says Republicans are deeply involved, but they don’t want you to know it. They don’t want to admit it because they want to prove the White House is not pulling the strings. But the White House is! This is a “stealth” White House operation. The Hoeven-Corker amendment could well be an Obama administration idea submitted in this war room and then two senators were cherry-picked to put their names on it.

I don’t know that that’s the case, but this story in the New York Times makes it entirely possible. The New York Times story says that some Republicans, quote, “are so eager to prove that the White House is not pulling the strings that their aides say the administration is not playing any role at all,” and they point to a spokesman for Marco Rubio. A spokesman for Rubio has denied that the president’s involved in this at all. So, look, I can only tell you what the New York Times is saying.

It’s up to you whether you want to believe it or not. The New York Times, essentially, is saying here that Obama and the White House are pulling Rubio’s strings.

“I think the Republican House was put on this earth to save us from huge pieces of comprehensive legislation like this that I think are not well designed, would not work well. If we want to solve particular parts of the immigration problem, we can solve them. We can have more high-tech workers, if you want. We could have more guest workers for agriculture, if that’s necessary. We could legalize the people who are here. This 1,000-page bill, which is now probably 1,100 page bill–and much more expensive bill–because of this amendment, is not a good idea,” said the boss.

While Romney captured the nomination, even then many conservatives never truly trusted him. Rubio could face something similar. Tweets with “Rubio” and “traitor” and “RINO” are already popping up with regularity.

Also, Romney was able to finesse the [RomneyCare] issue by saying he was against big, bad federal mandates, not state ones. It’s difficult to see how Rubio could do a Romney on this one. He can’t resort to the federal-state differences when it comes to providing a path to citizenship.

Whichever path he takes, Rubio can be certain that he will continue to be hammered by conservatives who actually took his 2010 words at face value when he said he always had and always would oppose what they call “amnesty.”

Note that McCain said [at CPAC in 2008] that border security should come first, before “other aspects” of immigration policy were considered, implying that both should not be handled in the same piece of legislation. McCain appeared to understand that the American public did not trust the federal government to secure the border at the same time that it offered legal status to illegal aliens, based on the lessons of past rounds of immigration reform…

Perhaps McCain does not feel bound by promises made in the course of a lost campaign. But his statements to CPAC were not just about the policies he would pursue. They were also about lessons he had learned, about his state of mind regarding the issue. On Thursday, McCain acknowledged that there was “understandable skepticism” about immigration reform. Clearly he is no longer skeptical–if, indeed, he ever truly had been.

Yeah, that’s why the patriotic House members position has got to be until the Senate is in Republican hands — preferably Rubio-free, sorry — we’re not going to pass a bill that mentions immigration. And you should know that John Boehner secretly wants to pass amnesty because his idiot consultants are telling him, ‘Oh, it’s going to be a great boon for Republicans, having 30 million voters who will never vote for a Republican.’

But they need fig leafs, like this amendment in the Senate today. It’s an utter fig leaf to pretend like this is going to secure the border. What, one border agent every 1,000 yards? All this is, is more government workers, more pensions. It doesn’t shore up the border. It’s a fig leaf to allow Republicans who want amnesty but don’t want their voters to punish them. Punish them, voters.

Skip to 3:40.