Obama, Dems huddle on immigration

President Obama will meet Thursday with the four Senate Democrats who crafted a bipartisan immigration reform bill. [WATCH VIDEO]

Obama will meet with Sens. Charles SchumerCharles SchumerLive coverage: Senate GOP unveils its ObamaCare repeal bill Capitol Hill's hypocrisy on intern pay Dems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill MORE (N.Y.), Dick DurbinDick DurbinSenate Dem offers patent reform bill FBI: Alexandria baseball shooter acted alone Dems limited in their ability to slow ObamaCare vote MORE (Ill.), Robert MenendezRobert MenendezBipartisan group, Netflix actress back bill for American Latino Museum The Mideast-focused Senate letter we need to see Taiwan deserves to participate in United Nations MORE (N.J.) and Michael BennetMichael BennetDems step up attacks on GOP ObamaCare bill Trump welcomes Gorsuch on first Supreme Court visit Why higher education is in need of regulatory relief MORE (Colo.) — as well as Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick LeahyGoing national with automatic voter registration Republicans slam Trump’s new policy toward Cuba Trump draws a harder line on Cuba MORE (Vt.), the chairman of the Judiciary Committee.

The Senate began debating the bill this week amid growing momentum for the bill.

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On Tuesday, Obama told lawmakers the “moment is now” to pass immigration reform at a rally with labor and business leaders and students who are in the U.S. illegally at the White House.

“If you're serious about actually fixing the system, then this is the vehicle to do it," Obama said. "If you're not serious about it — if you think a broken system is the best America can do, then I guess it makes sense to block it.”

Carney said Thursday that the White House is “heartened” by progress, before adding more work must be done.


“The president’s interest is in the Senate recognizing that we have a unique opportunity that has been a long time coming and isn’t likely to come again any time soon if we don’t seize it to pass comprehensive immigration reform with bipartisan support,” Carney added.

Some lawmakers have suggested Obama should stay away from the debate over the bill, and that his interference could hurt its prospects.

“The biggest obstacle to passing common-sense immigration reform is President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaMSNBC's Chris Matthews asks Cory Booker to dinner during interview GOP rep: No regrets for partly blaming Obama for lawmaker shooting Changing America, part V: The coming millennial boom MORE,” Sen. Ted CruzTed CruzMcConnell courts GOP centrists for health bill Bono signs card for Scalise during Capitol Hill visit GOP hits the gas on ObamaCare repeal MORE (R-Texas) told ABC News on Monday.

Cruz also suggested Obama had designed the immigration bill, which includes a pathway to citizenship for the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants, to fail in the House as leverage for political gain.

“It is designed for it to sail through the Senate and then crash in the House to let the president go and campaign in 2014 on this issue,” Cruz said.