For House Republicans, new momentum on immigration reform

Recent signals from House Republican leaders that they will pursue their own vision of immigration reform have presented the White House with an opening to achieve a major legislative deal this year that has eluded lawmakers for decades.

Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) is expected to release a brief outline of immigration principles to his caucus as soon as its annual retreat next week. The goals would include strengthening border security and creating new visas for foreign workers, while providing a path toward legalizing the status of the nation’s 11 million to 12 million undocumented immigrants, according to people briefed on the deliberations.

Obama administration officials and congressional Democrats expressed optimism that new momentum in the House could yield results after months in which the issue languished in the lower chamber. But they cautioned that it is far too early to determine whether a compromise could be reached between the House and Senate, which approved a bipartisan plan to overhaul border-control laws last June.

“It’s a very big deal, and there’s a path here that could get it done,” Cecilia Munoz, the White House’s director of domestic policy, said of the potential for an immigration agreement.

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