Elsewhere I've written that the president would be wise to compromise with the incoming Congress. I still think he should. I have to say, nonetheless, that I'm with Representative Luis Gutierrez (Dem, IL) on this issue-- he wants the lame duck Congress to pass it before session'e end. The Right will oppose it and will turn on its bitch machine with the same stuff about failing to listen to what the American people loud and clear said that we're taking our country back... however, Gutierrez and the Latino community has been behind Obama since his own campaign, and he promised them comprehensive reform. He's done nothing, and at best, the Dream Act, which will legalize undocumented young people who attend college or join the military, now seems to Latinos like what's possible to still get-- but only now, before the Republican Congress is sworn in. The Tea Party has made clear that fighting against the undocumented is its only agenda vis a vis immigration.
So it's now or never, and if Obama is smart, he will back this and do his best to make it happen. He'll pay a short term price, but it probably won't be a huge one politically; while I'm hopeful it will be otherwise, I expect the GOP to oppose Obama mindlessly and across the board and I don't believe that would change if he opposed passage of this good and noble initiative.
This way, he accomplishes something inherently good, and in doing so, he gets the appreciation of Latinos and the progressive left. He loses nothing on his right side and he gains something on his left-- while doing something good for the country-- how bad is that?