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 MenendezRobert MenendezGMO labeling bill advances in the Senate over Dem objections Overnight Finance: Trump threatens NAFTA withdrawal | Senate poised for crucial Puerto Rico vote | Ryan calls for UK trade deal | Senate Dems block Zika funding deal Menendez rails against Puerto Rico bill for 4 hours on floor MORE (D-N.J.) and Reps. Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis GutierrezLuis GutierrezIsrael’s false friends Hispanic lawmakers face painful decision on Puerto Rico Frustration with White House builds in Hispanic caucus MORE (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 ReidHarry ReidSuper-PAC targets Portman on trade Dem leader urges compromise on FCC set-top box plan Senate Dems introduce Iran sanctions extension MORE (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.