Washington: Days after the introduction of the comprehensive immigration reform and the start of a nationwide debate in the US, including series of Congressional hearing, the White House has said that the legal immigration system does not have to be a zero-sum game.
Noting that the Obama Administration broadly supports the comprehensive immigration bill that has been tabled in the US by a bipartisan group of eight Senators - known as gang of eight - a presidential spokesman acknowledged that the bill however does not have everything that the president wanted.
"This bill does not contain every specific element that the president has supported, but it does represent an important step towards the broad principles the president has made clear need to be part of common-sense immigration reform," the White House Press Secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters.
"The administration has made clear that improving our legal immigration system does not have to be a zero-sum game," he said, adding, "We can increase employer and family-sponsored green card numbers without taking away from other categories of visas."
The bill proposes a path to citizenship to some 11 million illegal immigrants, besides streamlining the process and quicker citizenship and green card to legal migrants.
Noting that a significant piece of business and a significant amount of progress has been made in a bipartisan way by this group of eight that reflects the President's principles, carney said the White House is encouraged by it.
"But we are still in the process of hopefully making this bill become law," he added.
According to Carney, it was the judgement of the US President Barack Obama that the best avenue for achieving broad, comprehensive immigration reform that had bipartisan support and could pass the Senate and the House and meet his principles was to encourage a process that was emerging in the Senate and that has produced the bill that you mentioned.
"We are evaluating the legislation, but the bill does meet the principles that the president laid out," he said.
"He (the president) will continue to work with members of Congress who are engaged in this bipartisan effort.
It is one of the topics that he frequently discusses when he has meetings with lawmakers, both Democrats and Republicans," he said.
First Published: Thursday, April 25, 2013, 09:13