limiting any policy only to parents could exclude most gay illegal immigrants, whom activists estimate could total more than 250,000.
Gay immigrants are mounting a campaign to demand that they be included in any unilateral moves President Obama makes this year to halt deportations, arguing that they face unusual circumstances that otherwise might leave them on the outside.
The demands pose a tricky test for Mr. Obama, who has made major inroads with gay rights groups during his time in the White House, but who will have to draw lines somewhere as he seeks to craft a more lenient deportation policy without canceling deportations altogether.
“We hope that he evolves and he gets it right, and he can push for the broadest deferred action or administrative relief as possible,” said Jorge Gutierrez, an activist who made the case last week in an op-ed for the Washington Blade, a leading newspaper for gays.
Hispanic and immigrant rights groups want Mr. Obama to broaden his 2012 “deferred action” policy granting tentative legal status and work permits to so-called dreamers, or young adults who were brought illegally to the U.S. as minors, so it will include illegal immigrant parents whose children are either U.S. citizens or dreamers.