Pfeiffer said only that the administration supported the Senate’s efforts to craft comprehensive immigration reform as “100 percent consistent with what the president is doing” in an interview on “Fox News Sunday.”
A Senate group is close to unveiling legislation on a comprehensive immigration reform proposal, with Sen. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerConvention shows Democrats support fracking, activists on the fringe Dem ad blasts Indiana senate candidate on Social Security The Trail 2016: Unity at last MORE (D-N.Y.) saying Sunday he was hopeful language would be ready by the end of the week.
Reports have suggested that conservative members of the immigration “Gang of Eight” are pushing measures which would require the administration to meet border security benchmarks before allowing other controversial provisions, including a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, from being implemented.
Pfeiffer's comments could represent a shift in White House policy on how to tackle border security and overall immigration reform.
Administration officials have previously said they would object to any provision tying a pathway to citizenship to border security goals. The White House has said it backs tougher border security, but immigration reform advocates fear benchmarks could delay efforts to legalize the status of the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.
But many conservatives see tying border security to citizenship as a pivotal guarantee to winning support and to preventing further illegal immigration.
Pfeiffer on Sunday only spoke in broad terms about the emerging Senate bill.
"We feel very good the product they are working on is a product that is completely consistent with what the president has put forward . . . and will actually address immigration reform in a common sense way," he said.
The group first unveiled their framework in January, but have since been negotiating a number of key provisions, including a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country.
Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey GrahamSyria activists cheer Kaine pick Vulnerable GOP senators praise Kaine Meghan McCain: ‘I no longer recognize my party’ MORE (R-S.C.) another member of the Senate immigration group said Sunday that Senate Republicans are largely on board regarding immigration reform.
"The politics of self-deportation are behind us,” Graham said, adding that conservative opposition to granting citizenship was "impractical" given the number of illegal immigrants already in the country.