President Obama wants House Speaker John Boehner to take the lead on immigration reform, even if that means a piecemeal approach, believing that a more comprehensive White House plan would die in the GOP-controlled Congress, according to sources informed of the strategy.

“The president is giving Boehner wide latitude,” said a business leader who has attended several White House meetings where the president’s team has laid out their strategy. “They believe that the only chance of passage in the House is to let Boehner write the plan and for the White House to offer support from the sidelines.”

The White House is so hopeful that the speaker and his immigration leaders can get elements of a plan through the House next year that they have been telling those at the meetings something rarely heard in public: Praise for Boehner.

“They have been singing his praises in the meetings, really,” said one of those at several meetings where immigration has been discussed. The source also said that of all the agenda items aired at the business meetings, immigration reform is the top dog.

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