President Obama told a crowd of Hispanic-American policy makers on Friday that if re-elected, he’ll deliver on immigration reform.
Specifically, the president said that he will make passing the DREAM Act a priority in his second term. He added that his opponent, Mitt Romney, would do the exact opposite.
“Your speaker from yesterday has a different view,” Obama told the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials’ conference at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. “In his speech, he said that when he makes a promise to you, he’ll keep it. Well, he has promised to veto the DREAM Act, and we should take him at his word…I’m just saying.”
On Thursday, Romney told the conference that as president, he’ll reform the nation’s visa system in order to help immigrant families stay together, and that he’ll provide Green Cards to those who earn advanced degrees or pursue military service.
(Click here for an in-depth fact check of both Obama and Romney’s immigration reform plans, courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.)
Politically speaking, neither Obama nor Romney would appear to have a good chance of enacting meaningful immigration reform, whether it’s putting the millions of illegal immigrants already in the U.S. on a pathway to citizenship, or constructing a comprehensive security fence along the U.S.’s southern border.
The DREAM Act is essentially a non-starter for the GOP, save for Marco Rubio, who is rumored to be courting support for a similar measure. Even five members of Obama’s own party voted against it back in 2010.
Should Republicans retain the House and win the Senate this Fall, expect them to dangle anything they perceive to be legislative amnesty in front of Obama as trade bait for a border fence. Yet, should Obama win a second term, that’s a trade he’s unlikely to make.
Instead, as he showed last week by instructing his Homeland Security Department to relax deportation rules toward young illegal immigrants, the president has decided to implement reforms unilaterally, while simultaneously blaming Congress for dragging its feet.
“Lifting the shadow of deportation and giving them a reason to hope — that was the right thing to do,” Obama said. “To those who are saying Congress should be the one to fix this — absolutely…My door has been open for three and a half years. They know where to find me.”
This article was updated at 4:21 p.m.