By Bob Cusack - 09/15/10 07:53 PM EDT
Democrats on both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue are poised to launch an
eleventh-hour effort to pass an immigration reform bill this year.
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) are scheduled to meet with President Obama at the White House on Thursday afternoon to discuss the DREAM Act.
The bill, which would allow certain children of illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. before the age of 16 a path to citizenship, will be debated next week as an amendment to the defense authorization bill.
Gutierrez told reporters Wednesday that he is hopeful the measure will attract 60 votes, though he acknowledged that the White House will need to be heavily involved to push the bill to passage.
Obama and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) support the DREAM Act, as does Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who put it on the upper chamber's schedule next week.
With comprehensive immigration reform dead in this Congress, the DREAM Act is seen as an incremental step toward changing the nation's immigration laws.
Gutierrez said he is planning on campaigning for Reid in Nevada next month.