Hours before President Barack Obama’s rare visit to Puerto Rico, the No. 3 official at the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday that the administration wants a resolution on the island’s legal status by the end of 2012.

Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli is involved in the issue as co-chair of the President’s Task Force on Puerto Rico’s Status. The task force issued a report in March with several recommendations, and those ideas are getting renewed attention because of Obama’s visit, which the White House calls the first by a sitting president since 1961.

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