Members of the House's "group of 8" working on crafting immigration reform legislation emerged from a closed-door meeting Wednesday on Capitol Hill saying they have "found a way forward" on a comprehensive bill for the chamber, but will forge ahead without a key member of its ensemble.
Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho - a Puerto Rican immigration attorney - left the meeting with the announcement that he's parting ways with the group and will not support its version of the legislation.
"The agreement when I first joined [the "group of 8"] was aliens have to pay for their own healthcare," he told reporters. "Now that has changed."
Labrador said he was the only member to leave the group, and remains committed to immigration reform. He will be working with House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., he said, on a piecemeal approach to the issue.
The remaining seven members, meantime, said the meeting Wednesday with select senators produced "a way forward," but that they are still negotiating specific language. Special guests at the House-side meeting included Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Jeff Flake. R-Ariz., Rand Paul, R-Ky. and Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.
Rubio and Flake helped author the Senate's comprehensive "gang of 8" proposal, which includes a pathway to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States; Lee and Sessions oppose the bill, which is expected on the Senate floor next week.