The White House and a bipartisan group of senators will launch an effort next week to jump-start negotiations to overhaul the immigration system, an issue that has languished in Washington for years.
The Senate working group is also aiming to outline its proposals at about the same time, according to a Senate aide.
Even before those plans are formally unveiled, there is emerging consensus on several components, most notably the need for some kind of pathway to citizenship for the 11 million illegal immigrants already in the United States.
The aim of the Senate group is to draft an immigration bill by March and pass legislation in the Senate by August, said the aide, who was not authorized to discuss private deliberations and requested anonymity. The Republican-controlled House would also need to pass the legislation before it went to the White House for the president’s signature.
Obama pledged to make overhauling the system a top second-term priority. “I think we have talked about it long enough,” Obama said during an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press” in December. “We know how we can fix it. We can do it in a comprehensive way that the American people support. That’s something we should get done.”