After a bi-partisan group of senators announced their plan for immigration reform, President Obama endorsed the idea and introduced his own thoughts on the proposal. In interviews with Telemundo and Univision, the President believed that an accord could be reached this year, and that the plan introduced in the Senate was a good start.
Essentially, the Senate has a preliminary framework in place that will allow immigrants to begin working while applying for legal permanent resident status. Those applying for citizenship would ostensibly have to pay fines and back taxes, and pass a civics exam. The House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republican Party, a similar version is being drafted.
In the meantime, President Obama noted that he would be open meeting with lawmakers to help negotiations move along, although he has not been directly involved in the negotiations. Some analysts believe that he does not want to be too involved (because a Democratic president may turn some Republicans off). Nevertheless, he said that we would be open to public as well as private meetings, and that he would reach across the aisle and listen to ideas from opposing parties.
Ultimately, Obama proposed to put everything he has behind the bill to ensure the bill progresses.
The progression of immigration reform has become an important agenda item, much like gun control. It is likely to garner a great deal of press from both conservative and liberal political groups. With so many ideas being brought to the table, there is hope and trepidation as speculation abounds on whether politics will delay the process.
Source: ABC News.com, Obama Seeking Immigration deal within six months, January 31, 2013