It's no fiscal cliff
, but the debate over U.S. immigration policy is another thorny issue that bears watching this year.
Expect a big year on the immigration front, with reverberations from the 2012 presidential election adding new urgency to the call for fixing the nation's troubled immigration system.
More than 70 percent of Latino voters backed President Obama's re-election, citing his stance on immigration issues as a key reason for their support, according to exit polls. In response, more Republican Party leaders are calling for a renewed focus on immigration reform.
The Dream Act is going to be the big story for 2013, predicted John Keller, executive director of the Immigrant Law Center of Minnesota in St. Paul. The proposed legislation, which has been around for decades, would grant a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children and who plan to go to college or join the military.
"Dreamers," themselves, will be worth watching this year, Keller said. Many are activists who successfully lobbied the Obama administration to create a special program last summer that opened the door for hundreds of thousands of young, undocumented immigrants to apply for deportation relief.