Obama talks to Republican Senators on immigration reform

Obama talks to Republican Senators on immigration reform Washington: In an effort to accelerate the process of immigration reform, US President Barack Obama has called top Republican Senators emphasising on commonsense reforms to include strengthening border security, creating an earned path to citizenship and streamlining legal immigration.

In his calls to Senators Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Mark Rubio, Obama commended the Republican lawmakers for the bipartisan progress on this important issue, the White House said.

During the calls, which build on conversations that have taken place at the staff level, Obama reiterated that he remains supportive of the effort underway in Congress, and that he hopes that they can produce a bill as soon as possible that reflects shared core principles on reform.

"The President has made clear that he believes commonsense reform needs to include strengthening border security, creating an earned path to citizenship, holding employers accountable, and streamlining legal immigration," the White House said.

Obama is prepared to submit his own legislation if Congress fails to act, the White House said.

Earlier, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Obama has made clear that he is focused on the Senate moving forward on a bipartisan effort to enact comprehensive immigration reform.

"He supports that effort. He's also made clear that if that effort stalls or fails, if progress halts, that he is prepared to submit his own legislation for the Senate to act on.

But his preference overwhelmingly is for the good progress that's been made by that bipartisan group to continue; for it to move forward to a point where a bill is produced that can be voted on and can win support of Democrats and Republicans, move to the House, win support of Democrats and Republicans and get to his desk for his signature," Carney said.

The blueprint that Obama has had online since 2011 that outlined his principles for comprehensive immigration reform is reflected very much in the proposals and ideas that Senator Rubio, for example, has discussed and the so-called Gang of Eight, the bipartisan group in the Senate has been working on, he added.

"The President remains hopeful that the Senate will move forward because is it absolutely his preference that that's what happens," Carney said.

PTI