Mel Martinez, who took a few licks in the bruising immigration battle in 2006, says he's ready to push for immigration reform again -- but he says President Obama has got to be engaged.
"This is tough stuff, it's tough politics," said Martinez, who met with Obama and other lawmakers Thursday at the White House.
Lincoln Diaz-Balart, who attended the meeting and has already filed legislation to let immigrant students stay in the U.S., said the meeting was "better than I thought it would be" and he's optimistic about seeing a bill passed.
"There's a possiblity," Diaz-Balart said. "It became pretty evident there's a lot of good faith." But Martinez said he's skeptical about the bill passing this year. He suggested the votes in the Senate are a "little dicey at the moment.
"I'm too much of a realist," he said. "I got my head banged around a little bit last time and I know this is not an easy issue. People walk away from it because it's tough."