During his State of the Union address, President Obama said that his administration was developing its own immigration legislation, but that a bipartisan solution would be ideal in the immigration discussion. A draft of the White House’s immigration solution leaked to USA Today includes a path for illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents. It also includes provisions to force business owners to check the immigration status of potential employees, and greater funding for border security.
Illegal immigrants would be able to apply for a “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa according to the bill, and could submit applications for immediate family members living abroad to gain the same status. Though Obama has suggested that America should be ready to embrace the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the states, the administration had not offered specific solutions. The White House did not offer a direct response to the USA Today report, but did release a statement Saturday night addressing immigration law.
“The President has made clear the principles upon which he believes any commonsense immigration reform effort should be based. 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.”
The draft legislation has already earned critics, including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Rubio says he believes that the White House proposal too closely resembles immigration reforms that have failed in the past, and that it rewards those who broke the country’s immigration laws originally.
“It fails to follow through on previously broken promises to secure our borders, (and) creates a special pathway that puts those who broke our immigration laws at an advantage over those who chose to do things the right way and come here legally,” Rubio said. “It would actually make our immigration problems worse.”
USA Today’s unnamed source in the Obama administration claims that the draft is being circulated between government agencies. The source does not guarantee that the White House legislation will be formally submitted to Congress, should a different bill be developed in the House or Senate. However, Obama has reiterated that his office will push forward a bill if Congress cannot find a bipartisan solution.