(Politico) – The White House is insisting that President Obama remains engaged in working with the Senate to generate bipartisan immigration legislation, even as USA Today reported Saturday on the details of what it says is a draft bill from the administration.
Provisions include creating an eight-year path to residency for undocumented immigrants and permitting immigrants to apply for lawful prospective immigrant visas, the paper said, citing a document the paper said it obtained from an administration official. The bill would also call for more border patrol agents and add 140 immigration judges to the bench to speed up the process of adjudicating cases.
The White House would not confirm the proposals outlined in USA Today’s report or say whether they represented current administration positions. Obama has said that he has his own immigration bill but will only send it to Congress if lawmakers are “unable to move forward in a timely fashion.”
But Obama is still giving Congress more time.
“The president has made clear the principles upon which he believes any commonsense immigration reform effort should be based,” spokesman Clark Stevens said in a statement to POLITICO that matched the one he gave to USA Today. “We continue to work in support of a bipartisan effort, and while the president has made clear he will move forward if Congress fails to act, progress continues to be made and the administration has not prepared a final bill to submit.”
Obama has shown a willingness to work with Congress and hosted four Senate Democrats working with Republicans on a bill — Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin, Michael Bennet and Bob Menendez — at the White House on Wednesday.
The measures reported by USA Today are widely accepted and have gotten bipartisan support align with ideas that have gained support in previous pushes for immigration reform. They fit with the immigration proposal Obama put forward in May 2011 and with positions that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and other Republicans have endorsed going back more than half a decade. The eight-year path to residency is one piece that hasn’t been public before.