"We're going to continue to press for this priority, as we have in the past, mindful, of course, and recognizing that there are differing views on these issues in both parties, not just the Democratic Party," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday when asked about the lack of support from the president's party.
Mexicans in Mexico and in the U.S. have also been eager for the United States to overhaul its immigration laws. The Democratic-controlled Senate last year passed a comprehensive bill firming up border security and providing a pathway toward citizenship for about 11 million immigrants who crossed into the United State illegally or overstayed their visas.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said he also wants to change immigration laws and issued Republican principles that, among other things, would permit those immigrants to gain legal status in the U.S. But he has since indicated that any legislation has little chance of passing before this year's November congressional elections.
Obama will likely face questions from Pena Nieto on the prospects for passing such an overhaul because of the economic effects of immigration on both sides of the border.
"This is one issue which is probably more relevant to the U.S.-Mexico relationship than to the Canadian-U.S. relationship but which may come up in the summit because again labor mobility is such an important issue," said Arturo Sarukhan, a former Mexican ambassador to the U.S.
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