The U.S. government agency in charge of processing naturalization and residency applications is preparing for a surge in its workload if President Barack Obama pushes ahead with federal immigration reform next year granting millions of undocumented workers legal status.

A spokesman for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services said the agency is gearing up to handle the huge increase in applications expected if immigration refoUSA/rm is passed by the U.S. Congress.

“This agency has been preparing for the advent of any kind of a comprehensive immigration reform, and if that means a surge of applications and operations, we have been working toward that,” USCIS spokesman Bill Wright told Reuters.

 Immigration — particularly what to do with the almost 12 million illegal immigrants who live and work in the shadows — is a divisive issue in the United States.

 Obama supports a comprehensive overhaul of laws to grant undocumented immigrants in good standing the chance to pay a fine and become citizens, as well as cracking down on illegal employers and tightening security on the porous Mexico border. But he faces fierce opposition from minority Republicans in Congress.