WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama won a second term Tuesday along with a second chance to make good on a first-term promise for comprehensive immigration reform.
But nothing comprehensive is on the table from the administration, and if Obama senses too much opposition, he probably won’t try to shepherd a large immigration package of legislation through Congress.
It is likely Obama will make a renewed push for the DREAM Act although it’s not considered substantial reform by those who advocate looser immigration standards or those who want tighter enforcement and limits.
The bill provides a path to citizenship for as many as 1.7 million young immigrants, brought here as children, as long as they meet education or military service requirements.
The act failed to pass the Senate in 2010, but the Obama administration came up with a bit of a workaround expected to continue in his second-term in office.
Obama made an executive decision not to deport certain young immigrants who stayed out of trouble, got a high school diploma or served in the military. He used his presidential power in June to allow a two-year reprieve from deportation coupled with the granting of work permits.
But look for the Obama administration to continue to deport illegal immigrants -- already more than 1.4 million and counting -- who have been convicted of crimes, deemed national security threats, or have been caught crossing the borders repeatedly.
Obama characterized those ushered out of the country as “criminals, gang bangers, people who are hurting the communities” in a presidential town hall debate.
He also has advocated granting permanent residency to foreign students who received advanced technical and scientific degrees from U.S. colleges. But Obama didn't push for this while the economy was stuck in recession.
Reported by Trish Choate, Scripps Howard News Service