While many political analysts believe it is unlikely that Congress will pass comprehensive immigration reform in 2014, President Barack Obama seems to think it is not only possible, but probable.
In a meeting with Democratic senators in mid-January, the president said that he believes House Speaker John Boehner understands the importance of passing reform legislation, and will push other members of his party to support a bill, or series of bills, to tackle the issue in 2014.
Democrats meet with president
After the meeting with the president, several senators spoke about the optimism expressed by the Commander-in-Chief. His promising take on the possibility of reform seemed to have invigorated party members, as many left the meeting expressing their reaffirmed belief that immigration reform could in fact be passed in 2014.
“[President Obama] predicted the House would pass something this year,” Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., who attended the meeting, told The Hill. “He said we’re then all going to have a challenging conversation. He said it was more likely than not the House would do something.”
Political necessity cited as main reason for optimism
In the nation’s capital, the mood on the likelihood of passing immigration reform is still mixed, with people on both sides of the debate unsure how it will play out in the coming months. But several people, including many lawmakers, believe House Republicans will be forced to move on something due to the growing political influence of Latinos.
“I think our Republican colleagues realize that to be blocking immigration reform is not good for them,” Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., who also attended the meeting with the president, told the source.
According to sources in both parties, it appears the most likely way forward on providing a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants will be expanding access through already existing channels, such as H-1B visas and various other permit laws that are already on the books.