A newspaper is reporting says that a draft of an immigration bill prepared by the White House lays out an eight-year process for illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents.

Architect of the Capitol

In a story published online Saturday, USA Today says the draft bill would allow illegal immigrants in the U.S. to apply for newly created "Lawful Prospective Immigrant" visas. The bill would also provide more security funding and require that businesses verify the immigration status of new hires within four years.

President Barack Obama has said he will send an immigration bill to Congress if lawmakers do not move on the issue "in a timely fashion."

A White House spokesman, Clark Stevens, says in a statement Saturday that a final immigration bill has not been prepared but that progress is being made.

Obama immigration aide seeks to finish journey

U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama's chief domestic policy adviser keeps a framed letter from the late Democratic senator and immigration advocate Ted Kennedy in her West Wing office.

Kennedy wrote the letter to Cecilia Munoz in 2007 following the collapse of bipartisan efforts to overhaul the nation's fractured immigration system.

The letter says, quote, "We didn't complete the journey, but we'll get there."

For Munoz, a veteran of that fight and many earlier ones, completing the journey has never felt more possible.

As head of the White House Domestic Policy Council, it's Munoz who is leading Obama's effort to break through years of partisan gridlock and provide a pathway to citizenship for millions of people living illegally in the United States.

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved)