WH Shies Away From Trading Citizenship for Border Security

Posted January 28, 2013 at 11:58am

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney praised the new bipartisan Senate immigration blueprint Monday but stopped short of embracing its key compromise — tying improved border enforcement to a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants.

“I am not in a position to negotiate details of a bill that hasn’t been written,” Carney said, repeatedly brushing aside questions about trading enforcement for citizenship.

Instead, Carney touted the administration’s record. “Our borders are more secure now than they have ever been in history,” he said, adding later that the president wants to make sure that border security continues to be enhanced.

On the larger issue, he praised the emergence of a bipartisan package.

“We are seeing a consensus building here,” Carney said, adding that the Senate blueprint’s provisions “mirror” the immigration principles the White House has had on its website since 2011. “We will be working with Congress, with both houses, both parties to help bring about a result.”

Carney credited the president’s leadership — and his campaigning on it during his re-election — as a key to moving the issue and noted the president would outline his push for reform in Nevada on Tuesday.

Members of the bipartisan group that drafted the immigration proposal will hold a press conference later this afternoon.