A push for a new tool to aid federal immigration agents in their hunt for fugitive undocumented immigrants and criminals has some privacy rights observers nervous that the agency is becoming a little too big brother for its liking.

The federal agency tasked with arresting and deporting undocumented immigrants, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, put out an official request last week for contractors to submit bids for commercial technology that would help the agency its law enforcement officers tap into the National License Plate Recognition Database, or NLPR.

 

Sen. John McCain said Sunday he's not abandoning immigration reform this year, warning that the country's changing demographics make reform an imperative task for Republicans.

"I have not given up hope that we will act - and we must act," the Arizona Republican told CNN's Candy Crowley on "State of the Union."

McCain, a co-author of a Senate immigration reform bill, said he remains hopeful a House Republican plan can move forward.

Immigrant rights advocates are urging President Barack Obama to use his executive authority to stop the deportations of illegal immigrants. Some arrests were made Monday when dozens of advocates rallied in Washington.

Religious and civil rights activists chanted and prayed alongside illegal immigrants near the White House as they urged the president to stop the deportations, which they say are tearing families apart.

Methodist Bishop Julius Trimble said he wants comprehensive, humane immigration reform that provides a pathway to citizenship.

President Barack Obama said Friday that immigration reform will pass before he leaves office in January 2017.

"I believe it will get done before my presidency is over," he said during an interview with Univision Radio. "I'd like to get it done this year."

"The main thing people can do right now is put pressure on Republicans who have refused so far to act," the Democratic president said.

President Obama told House Democrats Friday that comprehensive immigration reform remains a top priority for this year in spite of Republican lawmakers who are “scared” of the political consequences.

“They’re worried and they’re scared about the political blowback,” Mr. Obama said of the GOP. “We can all appreciate the maneuverings that take place, particularly in an election year.”

Speaker John A. Boehner has said that the House probably won’t approve comprehensive immigration reform this year because Republicans don’t trust Mr. Obama to improve border security.

On Wednesday, a number of top House Republicans said there would not be any movement on immigration reform this year, saying the GOP should wait until after the 2014 elections, when they might control the Senate.

House Republicans released their immigration principles last week, which gave hope to immigration activists and the Obama administration that immigration reform will pass in 2014.

Florida could join the ranks with other states allowing undocumented immigrants to get a drivers’ license.

The push is being driven by several groups petitioning lawmakers to approve a bill that would permit undocumented residents to navigate the highways legally.

Last weekend, United-Families, Students Working for Equal Rights and Tampa Estate set up camp at the Doral Farmers Market in South Florida to gather signatures for petitions calling for the measure.

Conservative Republicans on Wednesday ruled out any immigration legislation in the House this year, insisting that the GOP should wait until next year when the party might also control the Senate.

House GOP leaders unveiled their broad immigration principles last week that gave hope to advocates and the Obama administration that the first changes in the nation's laws in three decades might happen in the coming months.

Immigration legislation is one of the top priorities for Obama's second term.

President Obama is indicating he could be open to immigration legislation that does not include a special pathway to citizenship for the 11 million people already in the U.S. illegally.

In an interview with CNN broadcast Friday, Mr. Obama reiterated his preference for including a route to citizenship in a comprehensive bill. But he says he doesn't want to prejudge legislation in which people get legal status and then go into the regular citizenship process.

U.S. House Speaker John A. Boehner

House Republican leaders said Thursday for the first time that they would be open to allowing the nation’s 11 million illegal immigrants to live and work legally in the United States, but they emphasized that most would not be offered a “special path” to achieve citizenship.

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