WASHINGTON, Dec. 30 (UPI) -- The Obama administration has told immigration reform backers the president is committed to giving illegal immigrants a path to U.S. citizenship, officials said.
Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina and other top officials delivered the message in a conference call, the Los Angeles Times reports. Staff members have also told Hispanic leaders privately that President Barack Obama will back legislation in the next year.
Former President George W. Bush failed to win significant support for immigration reform within the Republican Party and some prominent Republicans, including Sen. John McCain of Arizona, back reform but may not back an Obama bill, the newspaper said.
Another problem is the looming midterm elections. Henry Cisneros, who served in former President Bill Clinton's Cabinet, said a bill would need to be agreed on in the spring.
"It gets much more difficult as the year goes along," Cisneros said. "So everyone has to be very sober about the prospects. But the president and congressional leadership understand it's important to start the ball rolling."