By Sam Youngman - 09/16/10 08:13 PM EDT
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) said Thursday he will introduce comprehensive immigration reform legislation in the Senate before the year's end.
He made the announcement at the White House after a meeting with President Obama.
Menendez and Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) met with the president at the White House on Thursday afternoon to discuss the ongoing Senate negotiations over the Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act and its inclusion in the defense authorization bill.
Obama supports the DREAM Act, as do Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).
Gutierrez said Obama pledged to "leave no stone unturned" and use the "full might" of the White House to secure passage of the authorization bill and the DREAM Act therein.
"He couldn't have been clearer," Gutierrez said.
Even though the legislation has little chance of being passed before Congress leaves at the end of the month, having the debate could help Democrats fire up their base with the November elections approaching.
After months of enduring criticism from Hispanic groups about the lack of inaction on comprehensive immigration reform, Obama appeared to get a boost from Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) members on Thursday.
Obama has repeatedly punted on the issue, pointing to Republican opposition where there was once GOP support. Obama and his aides have said repeatedly they cannot get reform done without Republican support.
At the CHC's gala on Wednesday night, Obama acknowledged there are many in the Hispanic community who are disappointed in him for not having passed reform legislation yet.
"Now, I know that many of you campaigned hard for me, and you’re disappointed we haven’t been able to move this over the finish line yet. I am too," Obama said. "But let me be clear: I will not walk away from this fight. My commitment to getting this done as soon as we can is real."