The White House has reportedly drafted an immigration reform bill that creates an eight-year path for undocumented immigrants to become legal U.S. residents.
White House officials refused to give details Sunday, saying only that they are working with a bipartisan group of U.S. senators to get immigration reform through Congress.
USA Today says a leaked draft of the bill details a process which would allow undocumented immigrants and immigrants facing deportation to apply for a new type of visa to become "lawful prospective immigrants."
Applicants would have to pass a criminal background check, submit biometric information and pay fees.
According to the report, anyone who served more than a year in prison for a criminal conviction, or was convicted of three or more crimes and was sentenced to a total of 90 days in jail would not be eligible.
"Let's strengthen our borders. Let's enforce this on companies that are gaming the system. Let's make sure there's an earned path to citizenship provided people learn English, pay their back taxes, have a criminal background check," said White House Chief Of Staff Denis McDonough on NBC's "Meet The Press."
Some Republicans said on Sunday political talk shows that the bill would be dead on arrival and questioned how the idea became public.
"Leaks don't happen in Washington by accident," said Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, on NBC's "Meet The Press." "This raises the question that many of us continue to wonder about -- does the president really want a result or does he want to beat up Republicans so that he can get political advantage in the next election?"
"We've talked to Sen. [Marco] Rubio [of Florida] and he's fully on board with our process and I am very hopeful that in March we will have a bipartisan bill," Sen. Charles Schumer said on CNN's "State Of The Nation."
The bill would also reportedly provide more security funding and require businesses to verify the immigration status of new hires within four years.