WASHINGTON (AP) -- A former adviser says it was probably a mistake for news of President Barack Obama's immigration plan to be made public at this point.
David Axelrod, who was a senior adviser to Obama's re-election campaign, tells MSNBC that White House officials would probably "take it back" if they could.
The plan would create a visa for those who are in the country illegally, and would let them become legal permanent residents within eight years. It requires businesses to know the immigration status of their workers. And it adds more funding for border security.
It's drawn immediate criticism from Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, one of eight lawmakers searching for a comprehensive plan. Rubio says it would be "dead on arrival in Congress" -- and that it would leave the nation with "unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come."
The White House is downplaying the leaked proposal as merely a backup plan if lawmakers don't come up with an overhaul of their own. Chief of Staff Denis McDonough says, "Let's make sure that it doesn't have to be proposed."
026-w-36-(Diane Kepley, AP correspondent, with Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Denis McDonough, White House chief of staff)--As Congress considers immigration reform, there is fresh debate over reports the Obama administration wants to find a way to grant illegal immigrants permanent resident status. AP correspondent Diane Kepley reports. (18 Feb 2013)
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.