Washington: A bipartisan group of influential US Senators on Monday agreed to a framework of sweeping reform of immigration laws to attract the "world`s best and brightest" and include a tough and fair path to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants in the country.
The White House welcomed the agreement reached on immigration reform by the bi-partisan group of eight influential Senators.
"The President welcomes the efforts by the bipartisan group in the Senate to put forward principles on the need for comprehensive immigration reform, principles that mirror the President`s blueprint, which he has been pressing for some time," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.
"The President believes that it`s very important that we move forward on comprehensive immigration reform. It`s the right thing to do for the country, for our economy," Carney said.
Senate`s top-ranking Democratic leaders, Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer; and Senate`s two leading Republican authorities on immigration reform, Marco Rubio and John McCain have signed on to this immigration deal. Four other Senators are in agreement over the framework.
"The United States must do a better job of attracting and keeping the world`s best and brightest. As such, our immigration proposal will award a green card to immigrants who have received a PhD or Master`s degree in science, technology, engineering, or math from an American university," the Senators wrote in the introduction to their five-page framework.
"It makes no sense to educate the world`s future innovators and entrepreneurs only to ultimately force them to leave our country at the moment they are most able to contribute to our economy," the Senators said.
Recognising that their immigration system is broken, the Senators said while border security has improved significantly over the last two Administrations, they still don`t have a functioning immigration system.
This has created a situation where up to 11 million undocumented immigrants are living in the shadows, they noted.
"Our legislation acknowledges these realities by finally committing the resources needed to secure the border, modernise and streamline our current legal immigration system, while creating a tough but fair legalisation programme for individuals who are currently here. We will ensure that this is a successful permanent reform to our immigration system that will not need to be revisited," the Senators said.
Obama is scheduled to announce his vision for a comprehensive immigration reform in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
"Our new immigration system must be more focused on recognising the important characteristics which will help build the American economy and strengthen American families," the Senators said.