“The president has been focusing on amnesty, a path to citizenship that skips ahead of the line,” he said, according to the report. “That, he knows, is a position not supported by a great many Americans and not a position that will achieve bi-partisan cooperation. It’s designed to scuttle the bill.”
A bipartisan Senate group last month unveiled an immigration reform framework that includes a pathway to citizenship as well as measures to strengthen border security and increase high-skilled immigration and employee verification programs.
But the weekend leak of the administration’s draft immigration proposal raised tensions, as GOP lawmakers criticized the White House for not first seeking their input. Obama’s proposal did not tie a pathway to citizenship to new border security measures, raising GOP concerns.
The president reached out to key Republicans involved in the Senate immigration blueprint to calm the waters on Tuesday, speaking with Sens. Marco RubioMarco RubioSenators introduce new Iran sanctions Senate intel panel has not seen Nunes surveillance documents: lawmakers With no emerging leaders, no clear message, Democrats flounder MORE (R-Fla.), John McCainJohn McCainMcCain says he hasn't met with Trump since inauguration Overnight Defense: General warns State Department cuts would hurt military | Bergdahl lawyers appeal Trump motion | Senators demand action after nude photo scandal Senate lawmakers eye hearing next week for Air Force secretary: report MORE (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamGOP senators pitch alternatives after House pulls ObamaCare repeal bill McCain says he hasn't met with Trump since inauguration Under pressure, Dems hold back Gorsuch support MORE (R-S.C.). Obama also insisted in an interview that the leak did not “jeopardize” the negotiations.
But Cruz remained skeptical of the president’s commitment to forging an immigration deal.
“There is real opportunity for bi-partisan cooperation on immigration that increases border security and improves and streamlines our immigration system,” he said. “He is seeking partisan advantage rather than trying to bring people together to solve a problem.”