WASHINGTON -- Republicans in the House of Representatives began their first hearing on immigration Tuesday with a stated goal of harmonizing the principles of humanity and the rule of the law.Members of the House Judiciary Committee met after a wave of comprehensive immigration proposals from President Barack Obama and a bipartisan group of senators calling for a path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants now residing in the United States.But Tuesday's gathering emphasized how many House Republicans still oppose granting a path to citizenship, which several committee members referred to as "amnesty.""The question of the day," said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Robert Goodlatte, R-Va., was whether there were any signs of compromise between the "extremes of mass deportation and path to citizenship."Julian Castro, the Democratic mayor of San Antonio, testified on behalf of a path to citizenship.He cited the hearing as a further example that the country is "on the cusp of real progress."But he warned lawmakers that any plan that doesn't include a path to citizenship risks creating a population of "second-class noncitizens."Castro joined seven experts on immigration who spoke about proposals to rework the laws, attract more high-skilled immigrant workers and improve border security.Julie Myers Wood, a former head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said any new legislation must consist of stronger employment-verification systems and improve the resources of agencies that are charged with enforcing immigration laws. "If we're going to do this again, we've got to get enforcement right and get it right from the get-go, or otherwise will be in this situation again," she said.As the meeting got under way, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, praised the ongoing efforts of Senate and House bipartisan groups, and he advised members to take their time."This is not about being in a hurry," he said. "This is about trying to get it right."