President Obama told a Spanish television interviewer on Thursday 13th September 2012 that he had not broken a campaign promise by his failure to reform the United States law on illegal immigration during his first term. He later said that he will try to reintroduce the bill in his second term if re-elected.
Speaking to Agencia Efe, a Spanish international broadcast agency, after an election rally in Golden, Colorado, the president said that he had not promised that he would reform the immigration system during his first term. He had merely promised, he said, to begin working on the problem. He also blamed the Republican opposition for hindering progress.
In 2008, the then Senator Obama said that he would make the issue a 'top priority. He said 'We can't wait 20 years…we can't wait 10 years… we need to do it by the end of my first term as president.' As yet, there has been no reform. President Obama's Democratic Party introduced a bill, known as The Dream Bill in 2009. Dream stands for Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors. The bill would, had it become law, have granted permanent residency in the US to some undocumented residents of good moral character who graduate from U.S. high schools, arrived in the United States as minors, and lived in the country continuously for at least five years prior to the bill's enactment.
The Bill, which was introduced to Congress by Democrats in 2009, was debated by Congress in 2009 and 2010. Numerous amendments were made to try to reach a compromise with the Republicans but, in the end, Republicans filibustered the bill and it never became law. It was later passed by the Democrat controlled House of Representatives but did not attain enough votes to go to the Senate. Again, it failed to become law.
The Democrats re-introduced a DREAM bill in 2011 but Republicans who had previously supported the bill withdrew their support and it failed. In August 2012, President Obama introduced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals programme by Presidential Order. The Republicans oppose the measure and Kris Kobach, an advisor on immigration issues to Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential candidate for the election in November2012, has launched a legal action challenging the scheme saying it is unconstitutional.
President Obama has promised to re-introduce the Dream Bill in the first year of his second term if he is re-elected. However, this may not happen. Mr Kobach, who is the Secretary of State for Kansas, has said that he is considering refusing to allow President Obama's name to be placed on the presidential ballot in Kansas because he has received an objection to Mr Obama's candidacy from a Kansas voter. The grounds for the objection are that there is insufficient proof that Mr Obama was born in the United States. Mr Obama was born in Hawaii. However, ever since he received the Democratic Party nomination to be presidential candidate in 2008, there have been those on the right who claim that he was born outside the United States and is, in fact, an immigrant. According to the United States Constitution, presidential candidates must be born in the US. Mr Obama has released his long form birth certificate from Hawaii to the press but some Republicans still refuse to believe that he was actually born there. Those that believe that Mr Obama was born abroad are known as 'birthers'.
Mr Kobach told journalists on Thursday 13th September 2012 that he is obliged to consider any objection against a candidacy if it is not frivolous. Mr Kobach, a lawyer, said that, as a matter of law, he could not find that the complaint was frivolous and that, therefore, he could not dismiss it out of hand. He and his colleagues will decide what to do about the challenge on Monday 17th September 2012. It is possible that they will refuse to put the President's name on the ballot paper unless they receive records that prove to their satisfaction that Mr Obama was born in the US. There is a possibility of similar challenges in five other states; Arizona, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana and Texas.
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