Peter Nicholas and Tom Hamburger
Los Angeles Times
December 31, 2009
[efoods]With the health-care battle still unfinished, the Obama administration has been laying plans to take up an issue that could prove even more divisive — a major overhaul of the nation’s immigration system.
Senior White House aides privately have assured Latino activists that the president will back legislation next year to provide a path to citizenship for the estimated 12 million undocumented workers now living in the United States.
In addition to the citizenship provision, the emerging plan will stress efforts to secure U.S. borders against those trying to cross illegally. But that two-track approach was rejected repeatedly in the past by Republicans and other critics who insist a border crackdown must demonstrate its effectiveness before any action on citizenship is considered.
Whatever proposal Obama puts forward will likely be complicated by the calendar: Midterm elections are in November, and polls show the public is more worried about joblessness and the fragile economy than anything else.