Both sides want to more efficiently verify legal workers in the United States, while the business community wants better access to low-paid farm workers and well-paid high-tech workers on a temporary basis, which troubles some union leaders.
Supporters of reform hope to see progress soon.
"At a minimum, they'll want to have a bill (introduced) by early spring, around April," said Andrea Zuniga DiBitetto, who follows Congress for the AFL-CIO, the confederation of U.S. labor unions.
Senator Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat and a close ally of Obama, told Reuters he aims to get such a bill onto the Senate floor for votes next year. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, in an interview, said his panel would move early to write the measure.
REPUBLICANS WEIGH RESPONSE
It was Obama's re-election that emboldened his fellow Democrats in Congress to move swiftly with comprehensive immigration legislation next year.
It also led some Republicans to conclude that they have to start responding to the concerns of the fastest-growing demographic group in the United States.
Republicans' November 6 election losses prompted House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner to note the need for immigration reform.
But one senior House Republican aide, who did not want to be named, noted that House Republicans as a whole are "still pretty conservative."
He added that immigration "won't be the first thing we do or even the second, but we have two years to act" before the 113th Congress ends.
And Boehner, however open he may be, does not control the Republicans he leads in the House.
The next chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the panel that would craft that chamber's immigration bill, could be Representative Bob Goodlatte, a conservative who opposes amnesty for those who came to the United States illegally.
Goodlatte also has praised the controversial Arizona law cracking down on illegal immigrants, which has been partially struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Representative Steve King, also a conservative Republican, said during a post-election press conference that Obama could not be trusted to enforce any immigration reform law that Congress might produce.
And he downplayed any notion that an alienated Hispanic community contributed to Republican losses in this year's elections.
But Representative Raul Labrador, a fellow conservative and a native of Puerto Rico, quickly rebutted King, arguing that Hispanic votes are essential to a healthy Republican Party.
"One of the biggest things conservatives talk about often is that we want to fix a broken government. Well, if you know anything about immigration law, the immigration system is absolutely broken in the United States," said Labrador, adding that he is eager to tackle reform.