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Immigration reform: White House drafts 'backup plan'

Though both Democrats and Republican have assured the Obama administration it won't be necessary, the White House has put together its own immigration plan, in case bipartisan talk of immigration overhaul breaks down.

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President Barack Obama speaks about immigration at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas on Jan. 29. The White House is circulating a draft 'backup' 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.

Carolyn Kaster/AP/File

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The White House is downplaying its draft immigration proposal as merely a backup plan if lawmakers don't come up with an overhaul of their own. It won't be necessary, Republican and Democratic lawmakers alike are telling the Obama administration.

White House chief of staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that President Barack 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 assured the White House they are working on their own plan — and warned that Obama would be heading toward failure if the White House gets ahead of them.

"We will be prepared with our own plan if these ongoing talks between Republicans and Democrats up on Capitol Hill break down," McDonough said, adding he's optimistic they would not crumble.

 
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