White House calls immigration proposal a backup

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 18, 2013 08:45 hrs

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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