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.
“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 DurbinDick DurbinManchin keeps Washington guessing on what he wants Democrats hope Biden can flip Manchin and Sinema US gymnasts offer scathing assessment of FBI MORE (Ill.) and Charles SchumerChuck SchumerBiden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week CEOs urge Congress to raise debt limit or risk 'avoidable crisis' If .5 trillion 'infrastructure' bill fails, it's bye-bye for an increasingly unpopular Biden MORE (N.Y.), along with Republican Sens. John McCainJohn Sidney McCain20 years after 9/11, US foreign policy still struggles for balance What the chaos in Afghanistan can remind us about the importance of protecting democracy at home 'The View' plans series of conservative women as temporary McCain replacements MORE (Ariz.) and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — Milley becomes lightning rod Joint Chiefs Chairman Milley becomes lightning rod on right GOP senators unveil bill designating Taliban as terrorist organization 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.”