WASHINGTON — Mexico's incoming president told President Barack Obama on Tuesday that he hopes to help him pass a comprehensive overhaul of U.S. immigration policy.
"We fully support your proposal," President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto told Obama at the White House, part of a visit to the United States days ahead of his inauguration Saturday. "We won't be demanding what you should do or shouldn't do. We want to participate. We want to contribute. We want to be part of this."
The two leaders delivered their remarks at the start of their meeting in the Oval Office. Obama didn't directly address immigration, but he acknowledged Peña Nieto's interest in the issue and said he would share with the new president "my interest in promoting some issues that are important to the United States and ultimately will be important to Mexico as well."
Democrats are hopeful that long-stalled immigration efforts will gain traction on Capitol Hill among Republicans chastened by the party's performance among Hispanics in the Nov. 6 elections. Exit polls showed Obama with 71 percent of the Hispanic vote; GOP challenger Mitt Romney took 29 percent.
Obama, who failed to enact an overhaul of immigration in his first term, has said he'll make it a priority in his second, and Republican leaders say they're willing to discuss some form of path to legalization for some of the estimated 11 million people who are living in the United States illegally.