The momentum of President Obama's resounding victory in November's election – with a big push from Latinos and other minority groups – has catapulted immigration policy to the top of Washington's 2013 agenda, making reform not only possible but also likely.

The shift in the political conversation has been so dramatic that even a pathway to citizenship for some of the estimated 12 million undocumented immigrants in the United States – long rejected out of hand by most Republicans and some Democrats – could be part of the deal.

The task is momentous. It involves weighing the wishes of industries from agriculture to high-tech, as well as the sensitivities of opening the door to immigrant workers at a time when unemployment remains high.