The formal process of considering changes to immigration laws will begin with a Senate hearing Feb. 13, leaders announced Tuesday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee plans to hold a hearing Feb. 13, the day after President Obama's State of the Union address, according to the panel's chairman, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.).

Leahy said Obama "should be commended" for making an overhaul of the nation's immigration laws a priority. "His recommendations for how to tackle one of our Nation's most pressing problems are thoughtful, realistic and inclusive," Leahy said in a statement. "I am particularly pleased to see that the President's proposal includes better access to visas for victims of domestic and sexual violence, improved laws for refugees and asylum seekers, an enhanced investor visa program, and the assurance that every family, including bi-national gay and lesbian spouses, receives equal treatment under the law."