A White House plan on immigration reform released by an “unauthorized” Obama administration official Saturday includes details that would allow illegal immigrants to become full, permanent residents within eight years.
The draft also provides for more security funding, requires businesses to check the immigration status of new hires within four years and allows the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants to apply for a newly created “Lawful Prospective Immigrant” visa, according to USA Today.
If approved, applicants could then apply for the same provisional legal status for spouses or children living outside the country, and after eight years, they could apply for permanent legal residency as a green-card holder.
As expected, President Obama’s plan is not being well received by Republican lawmakers.
“The president is torpedoing his own plan,” Kentucky’s U.S. Sen. Rand Paul told “Fox News Sunday.” “It shows me he is really not serious. … The bill won’t pass.”
But it was U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio who had the strongest reaction, calling the White House proposal “half-baked and seriously flawed.”
“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,” Rubio said in a statement released Saturday.
Interestingly, Obama Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the White House is working with members and staffers of the so-called “Gang of Eight,” yet Rubio, who is one of the eight, said the White House erred in not seeking input from Republican lawmakers.
“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,” Rubio said in the statement.
All that makes it clear that Obama’s actions continue to fall short of his words to the American people about the need for a bipartisan approach to immigration reform.
The release of Obama’s plan over the weekend is also a strong indication that the Democratic Party will continue to do all it can to keep the GOP on the defensive and not allow it to get the upper hand on the critical issue of immigration.