On the eve of a visit by Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto, the White House promised Monday that President Barack Obama "will be pressing for action" in Congress on comprehensive immigration reform and regards that goal as "achievable."
"There is a real opportunity here to move forward and the president is committed to that," press secretary Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing.
"He believes that comprehensive immigration reform is achievable ... because there has been in the past bipartisan support for immigration reform," Carney said. "And he thinks it's important not just for specific communities that would be affected by it, but for the American economy."
The spokesman said the immigration issue "might come up" when Obama meets Tuesday with Mexico's president-elect.
Obama crushed Republican rival Mitt Romney by 71-29 percent among Latino voters, the fastest-growing voting population in the U.S. Political observers have warned that the GOP must embrace some immigration reform measures and do more to reach out to the Hispanic community if the party is to stay competitive in national and many statewide elections.
Asked whether the 2012 presidential contest put special pressure on the GOP, Carney tread carefully. "I don't think any one of us would disagree with the general proposition that there is both substantive and political incentive to try to achieve immigration reform when it comes to the Republicans."