Obama Eyes 2013 Immigration Push

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 3 2013 10:48 AM

White House (Quietly) Promises Immigration Push

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President Obama, seen here talking about the fiscal cliff on Jan. 1, is signalling that he won't let the ongoing budgetary fights derail his other goals

Photo by Chris Kleponis/AFP/Getty Images.

With one fiscal-cliff fight in the rearview mirror and several more likely looming not too far up the road, many liberals are fretting aloud that President Obama won't have the energy or desire to tackle other issues near the top of his—and their—second-term wish list. White House officials, however, are doing their best to allay those concerns with the (somewhat quiet) promise of action on two high-profile issues: immigration and gun control.

An Obama administration official said the president plans to push for immigration reform this January. The official, who spoke about legislative plans only on condition of anonymity, said that coming standoffs over deficit reduction are unlikely to drain momentum from other priorities. The White House plans to push forward quickly, not just on immigration reform but gun control laws as well.
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In the wake of last month's tragedy in Newtown, the president promised to send a gun-control proposal to Congress early this year, likely as soon as this month. The suggestion that the White House will also get to work on immigration reform—long a priority of the president but one that has largely taken a back seat during his time in office—comes as slightly more of a surprise.

However, just because the administration is declaring that an unofficial launch to the immigration push is imminent doesn't mean anyone should expect major action anytime soon. The aides who laid out the plans to HuffPo cautioned that it would probably take about two months to cobble together a bipartisan bill, and then another few before either chamber votes on it. That would mean that if all goes as planned (something that is far from certain) it would likely be early or mid-summer before any concrete actions are taken.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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