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Glimmers of hope for immigration reform

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Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) met at the White House yesterday with President Obama and Vice President Biden to discuss immigration policy, and the Republicans left the West Wing ... unusually happy.

"It's one of the best meetings I've ever had with the president," Graham told reporters. "Sen. McCain made a strong point about the border, and the president understands the working components of it, so I was quite frankly encouraged. I think we'll have presidential leadership in a very productive way on immigration reform, and with that, we've got a very good chance of doing it this year."

But what about House Republicans, most notably House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), who ruled out a pathway to citizenship just last week? The latest reports suggest there's some wiggle room after all.

Asked by a reporter Wednesday if his position meant that undocumented immigrants legalized under a comprehensive reform plan could never become citizens, Goodlatte replied, "I don't think that."

At issue are the fluid and sometimes vague definitions of terms like a "path to citizenship" and "amnesty," which some Republicans say means undocumented immigrants should be barred from ever becoming citizens and others say means they shouldn't be granted citizenship automatically.

There appears to be some ambiguities to Goodlatte's position, but when TPM asked about some of the provisions in the bipartisan Senate compromise, the Virginian said, "I do have concerns about a lot of the different proposals I've seen and rather than negotiate those concerns in public, I think it's better to let the process work and see what kind of consensus we can develop."

And if nothing else, that sounds a lot more open minded than what Goodlatte said last week.