Just because President Obama has been focused on debt negotiations and gun control discussions, it doesn’t mean the White House is forgetting about another one of its top priorities: Immigration reform. The New York Times hears word that the White House is getting ready to push lawmakers to quickly act on a broad, comprehensive bill that would reform the country’s immigration system. In what is likely to be its most controversial aspect, the broad reform bill would also include a path to citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants currently in the country.
Obama will probably outline his plan in the next few weeks, maybe even during the State of the Union address in February. Earlier this week, White House press secretary Jay Carney had already hinted that Obama could talk about the issue during the speech, notes the Hill. Showing how action on the issue has become a priority for many, a group of bipartisan senators have also been meeting to write a comprehensive bill they could introduce as early as March. In addition to a path to immigration, any comprehensive bill would likely also strengthen immigration checks for workers, increase the number of visas, particularly for highly skilled immigrants, and create a guest-worker program for low-wage immigrants.
Although Republicans have generally been more willing to consider immigration reform than in the past, several have suggested it would be best to handle the issue in pieces rather than as part of a broad bill. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal Sen. Marco Rubio says he would prefer several bills because bad policy has a way of getting into comprehensive legislation. But “it’s not a line in the sand for me.”