WASHINGTON (CNN) - The White House is planning to start dealing with the nation's immigration system as early as this May, according to two senior administration officials.
The president will rely on a bipartisan, diverse group of experts to help build the framework for legislation, the officials said.
One official noted that immigration will "not be on the same track" as other key initiatives like health care and energy, and "nobody's promising legislation or a vote this year."
Meanwhile, the administration is dismissing suggestions that taking on immigration this year will put pressure on the president's already ambitious domestic agenda. Moving forward on immigration would fulfill another campaign promise.
The president acknowledges that tackling this issue will be challenging. Last month, at a town hall meeting in California, he said immigration is an "emotional" and "controversial" issue that "people get riled up politically about." But he added that "people who have been here for a long time and put down roots here, have to have some mechanisms over time to get out of the shadows."