A group of Democratic senators will meet President Obama at the White House on Thursday to discussion progress on a comprehensive immigration bill, Capitol Hill aides said.
Sens. Charles Schumer (N.Y.), Richard Durbin (Ill.), Robert Menendez (N.J.) and Michael Bennet (Colo.), all members of a bipartisan working group that drafted the legislation, along with Sen. Patrick Leahy (Vt.), chairman of the Judiciary Committee, are expected at the meeting.
Obama has sought to increase pressure on the Senate to support the bill, which advanced to the floor where debate is expected to last several weeks. Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said he hopes to have a vote early next month.
But Republicans, including Sen. Marco Rubio (Fla.), a member of the bipartisan group, have begun to offer amendments to increase border control and limit access of illegal immigrants to federal benefits -- moves immigration advocates fear will slow, or block, many undocumented workers from obtaining legal status and, eventually, citizenship.
The meeting will take place at 2 p.m., aides said.
"The president's interest is in the Senate recognizing that we have a unique opportunity that has been a long time coming and isn't likely to come again any time soon if we don't seize it to pass comprehensive immigration reform with bipartisan support," White House press secretary Jay Carney said. "There will be obstacles along the way and those who oppose immigration reform will attempt to derail it."