President Obama met privately in the Oval Office Tuesday with leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus to discuss immigration reform, and aides say his hope that Congress will approve the DREAM Act during the lame duck session.
The legislation would give children of illegal immigrants an opportunity to earn their citizenship by working toward a college degree or military service.
Critics say it is the first step on the path toward amnesty, although the issue does have some bipartisan support.
"They were brought into this country when they were very young," Republican strategist Javier Ortiz told Fox. "Obviously it is hard to make an argument that they should not be able to participate in the American Dream."
But Ortiz says Republicans could likely pursue a strategy of trying to combine the DREAM Act with legislation that seriously deals with the issue of border enforcement.
White House aides say part of the President's meeting with Hispanic Caucus leaders involved reiterating support for fixing the "broken immigration system" and urging them to work on restoring bipartisan support for comprehensive immigration reform.
One lawmaker at the meeting says the President told them he is still committed to comprehensive reform, but asked that they give him the DREAM Act as a down payment.
Representative Luis Gutierrez says he told the President he is "all-in" for the DREAM Act. "I told the President we need him now and that we cannot waste another day and must push for a DREAM Act vote in the House and Senate during the lame-duck," Gutierrez said in a written statement.
But if creating jobs and strengthening the economy are what American voters are demanding following the election, some critics are asking if the limited lame duck session is the time to take on this issue.
Mike Emanuel currently serves as chief congressional correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC). He joined FNC in 1997 as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.