Discuss as:

Report of immigration draft plan brings White House statement

Republican Senator Marco Rubio and others in the GOP criticizing the president for crafting immigration plan with no bipartisan input, NBC's Kristen Welker reports.

The White House is not directly commenting on a newspaper report that the administration is considering a path for illegal immigrants to become legal permanent U.S. residents within eight years.

USA Today said it obtained a draft of a White House immigration plan that contained the proposal.

The White House wouldn’t comment Saturday night directly on the USA Today report but released this statement:

“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.”


Since his re-election – which got a boost from Hispanic voters -- President Barack Obama has renewed his push for an overhaul of the nation’s immigration policy, including the topic in his inaugural address and State of the Union speech and making a trip to Nevada last month to highlight the issue.

And there’s been some progress in the Senate: A bipartisan group of senators announced in late January that they had agreed on goals for a major rewrite of immigration laws. Those include creating a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants who are here already and creating a system to ensure that employers don’t hire illegal immigrants.

But reaction to the USA Today report by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., points to the difficulty in passing any package. Rubio issued a statement Saturday saying that if the president's eventual proposal follows the draft described by USA Today, it "would be dead on arrival in Congress."    

NBC News' Ali Weinberg contributed to this report.

Hidden cameras reveal Mexican drug and immigrant smugglers crossing the U.S. border and traveling miles north into the country, NBC's Mark Potter reports.