By Mike Lillis - 04/18/13 07:12 PM EDT
President Obama's push for comprehensive immigration reform will prove more successful this year than his gun control agenda, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) predicted Thursday.
"The Hispanic community voted 70 percent for the Democrats," Pelosi said during a press briefing in the Capitol. "That opened the space in people's minds on the Republican side that perhaps immigration reform was an issue whose time had come. And that's why we'll have an immigration bill."
Pelosi said Congress should be able to get a comprehensive package over the finish line before the August recess.
"My hope would be that, by the time we leave here at the end of July, that this will be the law of the land," she said. "We didn't win the election [in the House], but the issue was well served by the vote in the election. So we will have immigration reform."
In an indication that the process might not move as quickly as Pelosi is hoping, however, Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, issued a statement Thursday panning certain elements of the Senate immigration package. He vowed a piecemeal examination of immigration reform by his panel.
"While the [Senate] bill makes a good-faith effort to overhaul our broken immigration system, there are some flaws which could lead to the same problems in the future that we have today," Goodlatte said.
"While I have concerns about the bill, I am hopeful that we can produce better solutions to make sure we get immigration reform right," he added. "One way to do this is for the House to examine these issues in a step-by-step process."
The comments came one day after a bipartisan group of senators — the so-called Gang of Eight — unveiled a comprehensive immigration reform package they've been negotiating for months.
The sweeping proposal includes plenty of contentious provisions, including the elimination of a diversity visa program favored by liberals and the creation of a road to citizenship for undocumented immigrants that's been a lightning rod for conservative criticism.
A bipartisan group of eight House negotiators is expected to release a separate reform package soon.
Pelosi said she expects the House bill to be "very much like" the Senate proposal.
She was also quick to note that Democrats aren't happy with every provision of the Senate package, but suggested her caucus could rally behind such a bill in the name of bipartisan compromise.
"Don't get me wrong. It's not a bill that I would have written. It's not something that all of our members are quick to embrace because ... it is a compromise," Pelosi said. "And as a compromise, it's the boldest common denominator, the best that we can do, and it's very good."