President Barack Obama on Wednesday urged lawmakers to agree as early as January on a bill to lay a path to citizenship for the estimated 11.5 million illegal immigrants in the United States.
"I'm very confident that we can get immigration reform done," Obama told reporters at his first press conference since a decisive November 6 re-election victory in which Hispanic voters played a major role.
"My expectation is that we get a bill introduced and we begin the process in Congress very soon after my inauguration," said Obama, who is due to begin his second term after a January 21 inauguration ceremony.
The Latino vote was seen as decisive in swing states with large influxes of Hispanics like Nevada, Colorado and Florida.
The number of eligible Hispanic voters in the United States is expected to almost double from 24 to 40 million by 2030. A record 12.5 million Hispanics voted on November 6, according to exit polls.