“If actually proposed, the President’s bill would be dead on arrival in Congress, leaving us with unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come,” said Rubio in a statement.
His response followed a report in USA Today on Saturday which said the Obama administration has prepared a draft plan that includes a provision to allow illegal immigrants to obtain green cards within eight years.
The proposal would create a “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa to allow holders to work and travel after undergoing a criminal background check and paying fees. After eight years under the visa, an immigrant could apply for legal permanent residency as a green card holder.
The draft would also increase funds for Border Patrol, add federal immigration judges and expand the use of E-Verify.
The White House would not confirm the details of the proposal, but CNN reported that a White House spokesman said the administration intended for Congress to take the lead on immigration.
“The president has made clear the principles upon which he believes any common-sense immigration reform effort should be based," White House spokesman Clark Stevens said, according to CNN. "We continue to work in support of a bipartisan effort, and while the president has made clear he will move forward if Congress fails to act, progress continues to be made and the administration has not prepared a final bill to submit.”
In his statement, Rubio sharply criticized the White House for not doing more to seek GOP input ahead of circulating its proposal, calling the draft “half-baked and seriously flawed.”
“It’s a mistake for the White House to draft immigration legislation without seeking input from Republican members of Congress. President Obama’s leaked immigration proposal is disappointing to those of us working on a serious solution,” said Rubio. “The President’s bill repeats the failures of past legislation.”
Rubio has signed on to the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration framework, released last month, which also offers a pathway to citizenship, heightened border security and measures to increase high-skilled immigration and employee verification.
Efforts to place illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship, though, face strong opposition among House Republicans who see such measures as amnesty. Rubio, has taken a primary role in rallying conservative support for the Senate immigration blueprint.
A House group is also said to be close to its own proposal.