White House: Leaked Immigration Plan Is Only Partial Draft

By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
By: CBS News (Posted by Melissa Brunner)
President Obama delivering the State of the Union address on Feb. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

President Obama delivering the State of the Union address on Feb. 12, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Chuck Kennedy)

(CBS News) WASHINGTON -- Over the weekend, a partial White House plan for immigration reform leaked to the press and caused an uproar.

White House officials tell CBS News that what was leaked is real -- it's a partial draft of half a bill. What we know is the administration's current thinking about what to do about the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States right now.

The administration wants a temporary four-year visa to provide legal status -- meaning no more deportations -- that could be renewed. After eight years, they can apply for what's known as permanent legal residency, or, more commonly, a Green Card.

There's also administration thinking on border security and an unspecified increase in border security, subject to negotiations with Congress. For workers who try to find jobs in the future and who might not have documents, the plan includes an E-Verify system to make sure undocumented workers aren't given jobs.

What's missing is a section dealing with all future legal immigration issues: high-skilled workers, seasonal farm workers and workers who work in hotels or restaurants. Without that, this plan doesn't have much of a chance.

The plan is not likely to get through Congress without the section dealing with legal immigration. That's why Republicans were so critical this weekend.

Last year, Republicans criticized the president for being missing in action and failing to draft a bill. Now that he admits he is, Republicans say he's contaminating that process; they argue that if you don't have a comprehensive bill -- one that can pass Republicans and Democrats in both the House and Senate -- this is a futile effort.

The White House says Republicans are going to be dared to vote up or down eventually, and that they better get used to that.

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