By Justin Sink
But many in the divided Republican conference continue to oppose providing a pathway to citizenship for the nation's illegal immigrants, and say they do not trust the White House to implement border security measures demanded by GOP lawmakers.
The meeting with Schumer and McCain comes as the White House looks to ramp up its efforts in support of the bill. On Wednesday, the administration released a report detailing the economic benefits of the legislation. White House officials also said that members of the president's Cabinet and senior administration officials plan to meet with business, evangelical and law enforcement officials in the coming weeks in an effort to build Republican support.
"I think that if you talk to the business community and the law enforcement community and the faith community about immigration reform, communities that have strong relationships with Republican leaders and Republican rank-and-file members and the Republican Party, you will hear support for immigration reform, on the merits, the substance of policy merits as well as when it comes to the political implications," White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday.
A White House official said Wednesday that it was also "possible" that the president himself would travel and hold campaign-style events to support immigration reform, but emphasized that it was merely one option under consideration.
"He may travel, but there's nothing scheduled," the official said.
Part of the outreach effort could include soothing Republican concerns that border security provisions would be enacted if the immigration reform bill passes. A joint statement penned by House Republican leaders on Wednesday questioned whether the president could be trusted to implement the border fixes.
The leaders went on to suggest that the recent decision to delay the employer mandate in the president's signature healthcare law was evidence the president couldn't be trusted to implement border security measures.
"The president has also demonstrated he is willing to unilaterally delay or ignore significant portions of laws he himself has signed, raising concerns among Americans that this administration cannot be trusted to deliver on its promises to secure the border and enforce laws as part of a single, massive bill like the one passed by the Senate," the lawmakers said.
Carney said earlier Wednesday that Obama "has demonstrated by his support for the enormous increase in resources for even greater enhancement of border security placed into the Senate immigration reform bill that he supports even further improvements in our border security."
"I mean, that's just a fact," he continued. "I mean, you can pretend that it's not because you want to find a way to do the wrong thing, or you can acknowledge the progress that's been made on border security."