Republicans say effort to help 'Dreamer' immigrants advances
A small group of demonstrators block traffic to demand action by the federal government on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) in downtown San Diego, California, U.S., December 4, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

A bipartisan group of U.S. senators has reached a deal on protecting young immigrant "Dreamers" from deportation as part of a broader immigration plan, a spokesman for Republican Senator Jeff Flake said on Thursday.

The spokesman, Jason Samuels, would not provide details of the plan, but said "the next step is taking it to the White House" for President Donald Trump to weigh.

Some other lawmakers who have been engaged in the negotiations were also optimistic; others said no deal had yet been reached.

Flake is one of a group of six senators who have been meeting privately in hopes of crafting legislation that would prevent around 700,000 Dreamers from being subject to deportation after Trump ended a program providing them with temporary legal status and work permits.

Dreamers are undocumented immigrants who were brought as children to the United States, largely from Mexico and Central American countries.

Democratic Senator Dick Durbin has been leading that group, along with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham.

Ben Marter, a spokesman for Durbin, disputed that a deal had been struck, saying that talks were ongoing. He would not discuss details of a bill that is being put together.

Earlier on Thursday, Republicans in the House of Representatives told reporters there had been substantial progress toward a deal.

"I feel more optimistic than I have since I've been here for three years (in Congress) that we're going to get a healthy compromise on immigration," said Republican Representative Carlos Curbelo, who has offered legislative proposals to help Dreamers.

A senior House Republican, Representative Tom Cole, voiced similar optimism following briefings from House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

(Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Richard Cowan; Writing by Makini Brice; Editing by David Gregorio)