John Boehner

House Republicans insisted Sunday that they plan to change key elements of the Senate-passed immigration bill, signaling a protracted and rocky battle ahead despite one Democrat’s pronouncement that in the end the House will cave and pass the Senate bill anyway.

Republican Rep. Bob Goodlatte, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who is playing a major role in the chamber’s consideration of immigration policy, on Sunday addressed what is perhaps at the heart of the impasse.

He said the House, which is drafting its own plan, cannot agree to a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Rather, he wants a “pathway to legalization” — in other words, allow some illegal immigrants a shot at a green card, but not full-fledged citizenship.