By Sam Youngman - 09/16/10 08:13 PM EDT
Sen. Robert MenendezRobert MenendezOvernight Cybersecurity: Senate narrowly rejects expanding FBI surveillance powers Senate narrowly rejects new FBI surveillance Kaine, Murphy push extension of Iran sanctions MORE (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 GutierrezLuis GutierrezHispanic lawmakers face painful decision on Puerto Rico Frustration with White House builds in Hispanic caucus Puerto Rico debt relief faces serious challenges in Senate MORE (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 ReidHarry ReidSay NO to PROMESA, say NO to Washington overreach Overnight Finance: Wall Street awaits Brexit result | Clinton touts biz support | New threat to Puerto Rico bill? | Dodd, Frank hit back McConnell quashes Senate effort on guns MORE (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."