In an interview with CBS News, Cantor praised Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), a member of the bipartisan Senate group, for tackling in the immigration issue, saying he's "going in the right direction." Cantor indicated the House would be interested in working on the areas of border security, temporary guest-worker programs, and relief for young undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as minors.
"We've got things that I believe that need to be addressed from border security to worker programs. And we need to be addressing the situation where you've got some children in this country that are here because of actions of their parents and know no other place than America as home," he said. "So we've got a lot of issues, and I believe we've got to work in an expedited fashion to address them but do so that we are secure as a country of laws and that we can help our economy move forward."
Another area the House is expected to tackle is an expansion of visas for those in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) who want to live and work in the U.S. One of the witnesses at Tuesday's hearing is Vivek Wadhwa, the director of research at Duke University's engineering school and a vocal advocate for more high-skilled immigration.
Despite the signs the House could act, many are still wary about its willingness to pass sweeping immigration reform. Goodlatte and others have indicated they may prefer to tackle the issue through a piecemeal series of bills rather than a comprehensive approach favored by Obama and the Senate group.
Immigration advocates were also alarmed by the number of restrictionists who are speaking at the hearing, expressing concern that the witnesses could reflect the views of a critical mass of House Republicans.
And any immigration bill will likely have to first pass through the Judiciary Committee before it makes it to the full House. The panel is full of Republican members who have staunchly opposed immigration reform that contains legalization, including Reps. Steve King (Iowa), Lamar Smith, and Jim Sensenbrenner (Wis.) Those members could clash with Democrats who have championed legalization, such as Reps. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.) and Zoe Lofgren (Calif.)
Meanwhile, President Obama has prodded Congress to act quickly on immigration. He said in an interview with Univision last week that he expects Congress to hand him a bill to sign as soon as this summer. And in a speech last week, he said that he would propose his own bill if immigration reform becomes gridlocked in Congress.
On Tuesday, Obama will meet with more than two dozen leaders from business, labor and immigration-advocacy groups at the White House during two separate meetings in part to discuss immigration reform.