White House: Senate proposals on immigration reform ‘a big deal’

White House: Senate proposals on immigration reform ‘a big deal’

The White House on Monday welcomed immigration reform principles from a bipartisan group of senators as “a big deal.”

President Obama “welcomes the efforts” of the eight senators to strike a comprehensive immigration deal, particularly the group’s endorsement of a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants already in the country, White House press secretary Jay Carney said at his daily briefing.

“This is a big deal. This is an important development,” said Carney, who noted that the proposal includes “principles that mirror the president's blueprint” for a deal.

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Carney, however, ducked questions about whether the White House would accept the development of increased border security measures as a precondition to a pathway of citizenship, something absent from the president’s immigration plan.

“We're not at a stage, especially from the briefing room, that we're going to negotiate details of legislation that doesn't yet exist,” Carney said.

“The president believes it is very important that we move forward on comprehensive immigration reform. It's the right thing to do for our country, our economy,” he said.

“This is a multi-part process,” Carney added in response to questions about border security. “What I'm not going to do is engage in specific negotiations from the podium today.”

The plan from the eight senators comes a day before Obama is scheduled to address his own proposals on immigration reform at an event Tuesday in Las Vegas.

The Senate principles would allow undocumented immigrants to register with the government and begin a pathway toward permanent legal status. Those in the country illegally would need to pay a fine and get through an extended probationary period before being granted citizenship.

The proposal would also increase the number of immigration visas available for skilled workers, implement a national employer-verification program and create a guest-worker program designed to allow employers to hire agricultural workers or laborers if they can demonstrate they could not hire an American to fill the job.

Lawmakers signing off on the deal include Democratic Sens. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinSenate approves resolution warning Trump not to hand over US officials Deal to fix family separations hits snag in the Senate Senate Democrats block resolution supporting ICE MORE (Ill.) and Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerData confirm that marijuana decriminalization is long overdue Pollster: Kavanaugh will get Dem votes Democrats slam Trump for considering Putin’s ’absurd’ request to question Americans MORE (N.Y.), along with Republican Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainObama, Bush veterans dismiss Trump-Putin interpreter subpoena Controversial Trump judicial nominee withdraws Trump vows to hold second meeting with Putin MORE (Ariz.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioHillicon Valley: Trump's Russia moves demoralize his team | Congress drops effort to block ZTE deal | Rosenstein warns of foreign influence threat | AT&T's latest 5G plans On The Money: Trump 'ready' for tariffs on all 0B in Chinese goods | Trump digs in on Fed criticism | Lawmakers drop plans to challenge Trump ZTE deal Overnight Defense: White House 'not considering' Ukraine referendum | Pompeo hopeful on plans for Putin visit | Measure to block ZTE deal dropped from defense bill MORE (Fla.), a possible 2016 presidential candidate who could give the proposal cover from conservatives.

Carney said the president's speech Tuesday in Nevada would primarily focus on “engaging” the American people in the push for legislation.

“He will continue a conversation with the American people of how we need to move forward and why we need to move forward,” Carney said, adding that “the goal here ... is to achieve legislation that will get the job done.”