White House insists Obama wants immigration reform

Washington, Mar 25 (EFE).- The White House on Monday rejected the recent accusations by Republican Sen. Ted Cruz that President Barack Obama is really looking for immigration reform to fail and for that situation to become a Democratic campaign weapon in 2014 and 2016.

"There's no evidence to support those claims," White House spokesman Josh Earnest said.

"What the President has been saying for quite some time now is that he believes that comprehensive immigration reform is in the best interest of the economy of the United States of America," Earnest told reporters.

"And what we're looking for is a piece of legislation that falls in line with the principles that the president has offered," the spokesman said.

A group of four Republican and four Democratic senators are currently trying to devise an immigration reform proposal.

Obama "is hopeful" that the eventual Senate proposal "would pass the Congress and would be something the president could sign into law sooner rather than later," Earnest said.

Earnest moved to deal head on with the accusations Cruz made during an interview last weekend with the Dallas Morning News in which he claimed that Obama really wants immigration reform to fail so that Democrats can use this fact as a campaign weapon.

The president's "behavior concerning immigration leads me to believe that what he wants is a political issue rather than actually to pass a bill," the freshman Cuban-American senator from Texas said.

"What he wants is for the bill to crater, so that he can use the issue as a political wedge in 2014 and 2016. That is why I believe the president is insisting on a path to citizenship for those who are here illegally. Because by insisting on that, he ensures that any immigration reform bill will be voted down in the House," Cruz said.

But the version of immigration reform that the Senate is studying seeks only to open a path to legalization - and possible citizenship - for the country's 11 million undocumented immigrants and does not provide for that to be automatically extended to those people.