Prospects bright for immigration reform in 2014, Carney says

White House press secretary Jay Carney said Sunday things were lining up for Congress to pass immigration reform in 2014.

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“I think there is reason to believe that the prospects for passing comprehensive immigration reform through Congress so that it reaches the president’s desk are better in 2014 than they have ever been,” he said in an interview with Univision News.

House Republican leaders are drafting principles for overhauling the country’s immigration laws that could lead to legislative proposals. However, those proposals are expected to fall well short of what Democrats and liberal activists would like to see.

The GOP principles are expected to call for a path to legalization, but not full citizenship, for many of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants. Republicans are also likely to call for strengthened border measures, a guest-worker program and an enhanced citizenship verification system for employers.

“We’re not there yet,” Carney said.

“We hope the House will take action,” he continued. “We’ve seen statements by House Republican leaders, a discussion about how they were going to put forward their principles on immigration reform. And we see that as a positive.”

While Republicans have some incentive to act on immigration reform to repair their standing with Latino voters, it remains a heavy lift in an election year.

“We certainly believe that there are a number of Republicans who understand that this is the right thing to do for our economy,” Carney said.

For the second consecutive year, immigrants living in the U.S. illegally will be in the chamber for President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday.