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A top U.S. Republican lawmaker said on Sunday he would support granting citizenship to children who are in the country illegally in a sign that conservatives who oppose immigration amnesty will be playing defense as Congress takes on immigration reform in the coming months.

Representative Eric Cantor, the No. 2 Republican in the House of Representatives, said Congress could make quick progress on immigration if lawmakers agreed to give citizenship to children – an idea he opposed when it came up for a vote in 2010 as the DREAM Act.

“The best place to begin, I think, is with the children. Let’s go ahead and get that under our belt, put a win on the board,” Cantor said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Cantor is leading an effort to improve his party’s image as many Republicans worry they will be consigned to irrelevancy in coming years if they do not reach out to the fast-growing Latino electorate, which strongly supports immigration reform.