President Obama plans to start addressing the sticky issue of immigration reform this year, including the search for a path to legalize the status of millions of illegal immigrants. That's according to a New York Times report. The story quotes a presidential aide.
Administration officials told the Times that Obama will speak publicly about the matter in May and bring together working groups including Democratic and Republican lawmakers over the summer. Discussions on possible legislation could begin as early as the fall.
Obama will present his drive as "policy reform that controls immigration and makes it an orderly system," according to a quote attributed to Cecilia Munoz, deputy assistant to the president and director of intergovernmental affairs in the White House.
While the U.S. continues to deal with economic issues, advocates on different sides of the debate said that immigration could become a polarizing issue for Obama. Americans are sharply divided over how to deal with 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. Hardliners say illegal immigrants are a drain on the country's resources and want them deported.
Two years ago, Obama, then a Democratic senator, backed immigration reform proposed by former President George W. Bush that sought tougher border controls and a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. Bush's fellow Republicans in the U.S. Congress killed the proposal.
During his campaign for the White House, Obama pledged to support immigration reform. He received strong backing from Hispanics in the November election.
Related: White House Agenda - Immigration
Tags: Obama, Politics, Immigration, Immigration Reform, Media by Sistrunk