Photo: Barack Obama (Pete Souza)
President Barack Obama said Friday that while Congress’ failure to pass immigration reform this year was disappointing, he is hopeful about the prospects for success in 2014.
“Immigration reform is probably the biggest thing I wanted do get done this year,” he told reporters at the White House during his year-end press conference.
The Senate passed a bipartisan reform measure in June, but the Republican-controlled House of Representatives has yet to even debate the proposal.
Obama, however, seized upon House Speaker John Boehner’s recent conciliatory comments to suggest 2014 may bring progress on the issue.
“There are indications in the House that although it did not get completed this year, there is a commitment on the part of the Speaker to try to move forward legislation this next year,” the president said.
“We have a concept that has bipartisan support. Let’s see if we can break through the politics,” Obama said.
The Senate bill is a broad measure that provides additional border security, an expanded work-visa program and a path to citizenship for the estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the United States.
Boehner and other House Republicans have talked about overhauling immigration law in a piecemeal fashion and Obama suggested recently that he could accept such an approach.
But the president appeared to be backing away from that position on Friday.
“(T) Senate bill has the main components of comprehensive immigration reform that would boost our economy and give us an opportunity to attract more investment, and high-skilled workers who are doing great things in places like Silicon Valley and around the country,” Obama said. “So let’s go ahead and get that done.”