The White House has been quietly reaching out to immigration activists over the past number of weeks.

Just yesterday, Friday, a group of influential Irish Americans were invited to the White House for a briefing on immigration and also security in the North of Ireland.

Earlier, officials at the White House spoke with Latino advocates to reassure them that the administration is intent on bringing in an immigration bill this year.

The effort is being led by New York's senior senator, Charles Schumer, who is also quietly reaching out to immigration advocates. He says he plans on having a bill passed before April.

The softly-softly approach is in stark contrast to the rallies and marches of 2006 and 2007.

While the rallies undoubtedly drew attention to the issue (particularly the fact that the Irish community was affected) they also gave a platform to anti-immigrant forces.

Immigration reform is a thorny issue and needs cool heads.

Senator Schumer is certainly one of the coolest heads in Congress.

Maybe 2010 will finally be the year for immigration reform.

A clear indication, as Clarissa Martinez from La Raza says, would be the inclusion of immigration in the State of the Union.

We'll see.