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McDonough: Immigration plan in progress

Feb. 17, 2013 at 11:07 AM

NEW YORK, Feb. 17 (UPI) -- White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough rebuffed criticism of the proposed immigration bill, and said the pressure is on Congress to deal with the issue.

McDonough replied to Sen. Marco Rubio's comments Sunday on ABC's "This Week" about the leaked White House draft, which reportedly allows undocumented immigrants to apply for a legal status with a pathway to citizenship after eight years.

"This legislation is half baked and seriously flawed. It would actually make our immigration problems worse," Rubio said. "If actually proposed, the president's bill would be dead on arrival in Congress, leaving us with unsecured borders and a broken legal immigration system for years to come."

Rubio also said there's been no consultation with Republicans on the draft, and McDonough disagreed, noting that the plan is still in the works.

"We've been working with all the members up there. We have our staff working this very aggressively with their staffs and with the members, and we're working this very aggressively, as you think we would with such a high priority for the country," he said.

Although McDonough said he would not engage in a back-and-forth disagreement with Rubio, he did say the pressure is on Congress to overhaul the flawed immigration laws.

"Let's make sure that that group up there, the gang of eight, makes good progress on these efforts, as much as they say they want to, and that's exactly what we intend to do, to work with them," he said.

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