WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama made a plea for Republican cooperation on immigration yesterday, seeking common ground by year's end in the aftermath of the divisive partial government shutdown. Obama's renewed focus on immigration comes nearly four months after a bipartisan majority in the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill that would tighten border security and provide a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama made a plea for Republican cooperation on immigration yesterday, seeking common ground by year’s end in the aftermath of the divisive partial government shutdown.

Obama’s renewed focus on immigration comes nearly four months after a bipartisan majority in the Senate passed a comprehensive immigration bill that would tighten border security and provide a path to citizenship for 11 million immigrants living in the United States illegally.

“Rather than create problems, let’s prove to the American people that Washington can actually solve some problems,” Obama said during an event devoted to immigration at the White House.

The Senate measure has stalled in the House, where most Republicans reject a comprehensive approach and many question offering citizenship to people who broke U.S. immigration laws to be in this country.

Still, White House officials say they think the partial government shutdown, rather than poisoning the political atmosphere, might have created an opportunity for collaboration with Republicans seeking to repair their image, which polls show took a hit during the prolonged fight over financing the government and extending the nation’s borrowing limit.

The White House took notice when Speaker John Boehner, R- West Chester, indicated on Wednesday that he was hopeful that immigration legislation could be done before year’s end.

But Republican strategists also say the most-opportune time to act might not come until after next year’s 2014 primary elections, when lawmakers will be freer to vote without fear of having to run against a more-conservative challenger.

And while Obama called for the House to pass a large bill that could then be reconciled with the Senate version, House Republicans want to approach any changes in piecemeal fashion, a process that at best would push any significant progress into next year.

Boehner spokesman Brendan Buck said yesterday that the House “will not consider any massive, Obamacare-style legislation that no one understands.” He said the House is committed to a deliberate, “step-by-step approach.”