White House calls immigration proposal a backup

Associated Press
FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks about immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. The White House is circulating a draft immigration bill that would create a new visa for illegal immigrants living in the United States and allow them to become legal permanent residents within eight years, according to a report published online Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 by USA Today. President Barack Obama's bill would create a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)
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FILE - In this Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 file photo, President Barack Obama speaks about immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas. The White House is circulating a draft immigration bill that would create a new visa for illegal immigrants living in the United States and allow them to become legal permanent residents within eight years, according to a report published online Saturday, Feb. 16, 2013 by USA Today. President Barack Obama's bill would create a "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visa for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants living in the United States.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is downplaying its immigration proposal as merely a backup plan if lawmakers don't come up with an overhaul of their own.

Republican and Democratic lawmakers tell President Barack Obama that it won't be necessary.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that Obama wants to "be prepared" in case the small bipartisan group of senators fails to devise a plan for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

In response, lawmakers assure the White House they are on it — and warn that Obama would be heading toward failure if the White House gets ahead of them.

USA Today first reported this weekend the administration is weighing an option to allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years.

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