While Mr. Emanuel once predicted that comprehensive immigration reform wouldn't be considered until the second term of a Democratic president, he now says conversations on the issue will begin this year to lay the groundwork for possible action in 2010. The issue is also likely to arise next week when President Barack Obama travels to Mexico to meet with President Felipe Calderón.
For his part, Mr. Emanuel said his views haven't changed, though people may be viewing him in a new light now. In any case, he said, his job now was to represent the president's views.
"It doesn't matter what Rahm thinks," he said in an interview. "It matters what President Obama thinks."
Mr. Obama, who pledged during his campaign to act on immigration, won with strong support from Latino voters. While Democrat John Kerry won 53% of the Hispanic vote in his 2004 run, Mr. Obama took 67% in 2008.
Numbers speak loudly.