(ASSOCIATED PRESS) — WASHINGTON — The immigration debate is threatening to split the Republican Party, pitting those who focus mainly on presidential elections against those who care mostly about congressional races.

Strategists say that if Republicans are to win presidential elections, which they’ve been losing lately, partly because of dismal support from Hispanic voters, they must soften their rhetoric about illegal immigrants and embrace some version of “immigration reform.”

But granting illegal residents a path to citizenship, which critics call “amnesty,” is deeply unpopular in many House Republicans’ districts.

President Barack Obama wants such a pathway. So do some prominent GOP lawmakers who are seeking a way out of their party’s jam.


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