Immigrant youth leaders signal they may be open to GOP compromise

“We will hold the line where no one else will hold the line,” he said, drawing chants and cheers from young people who filled a House meeting room.

But behind the demands were signs of a willingness to consider something less than a direct path to citizenship for all the estimated 11.7 million immigrants in the country illegally, given that many Republican lawmakers remain reluctant even to take up the thorny issue this year, and that deportations by the Obama administration continue to be felt in immigrant neighborhoods.

“There is pain in our communities, and the most urgent issue for us is for the deportations to stop,” said Cristina Jimenez, managing director of United We Dream. She said young immigrants would not accept any legislation that permanently barred immigrants from eventually becoming citizens, creating “a second-class status” for them. But she said the youths would wait to see the details of legislation proposed by Republicans before ruling anything out.

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