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Menendez says he will introduce immigration reform before year's end

Sen. Robert MenendezRobert (Bob) MenendezBiden rebuffs Democrats, keeps refugee admissions at 15,000 Bottom line The Memo: Biden's five biggest foreign policy challenges 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.

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Menendez also conceded the legislation will only serve as a vehicle that can be reintroduced in the next Congress, but added that Obama told him that he supports the senator's plan to move forward with a bill.

Menendez and Reps. Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) and Luis GutierrezLuis Vicente GutierrezBiden's inauguration marked by conflict of hope and fear The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic primary fight shifts to South Carolina, Nevada Democrats rally behind incumbents as Lipinski takes liberal fire 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 Mason ReidThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Tax March - CDC in limbo on J&J vax verdict; Rep. Brady retiring Biden to tap Erika Moritsugu as new Asian American and Pacific Islander liaison White House races clock to beat GOP attacks 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."