President Barack Obama will push for immigration reform within the next few weeks, according to Fox News Chief White House Correspondent Ed Henry.
On America's Newsroom on Fox, Henry said that Obama is well aware that he can become a lame duck president "pretty quickly."
Obama made an initial pledge just a week after being re-elected.
"We need to seize the moment, my expectation is that we get a bill introduced and we begin the process in Congress very soon after my inauguration," Obama said on November 14th.
But skeptics point out that Obama pledged to get immigration reform done by the end of his first year in office in 2008 and failed.
"The White House privately believes they have a much different political climate now, they think they have a better shot of getting this done," Henry said on America's Newsroom on Thursday.
A political climate that now includes overwhelming Latino support for Obama and the sudden realization of the Latino sleeping giant awakened in November. Fox News exit polls show that 71 percent of Latino voters chose Obama, compared with just 27 percent who picked his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. That marks the widest gap in Latino support between two presidential candidates in history.
Senior administration officials privately said to Henry that they believe the bill will have to have some key elements to the deal in order to win over Republican support.
Provisions added by the White House to a potential immigration reform bill to shore up Republican support include:
- Stronger border security
- Penalties for purposely hiring undocumented workers
- Pathway to legal status after paying back taxes and any possible fines
- Requirement to learn English
Unable to secure immigration reform in his first term, Obama has used his own power to help undocumented immigrants.
In June of last year, Obama executed his deferred action program, which ordered immigration officials to temporarily stop deporting young undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children and have never committed a crime. The program has also allowed the same undocumented immigrants to apply for temporary work permits.
Also beginning in March, undocumented immigrants will be able to seek a waiver –that would spare them serious penalties for their illegal status– while they attempt to legalize their status, said Homeland Security Janet Napolitano on Wednesday.