Obama seeks comprehensive immigration reform in early 2013
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Emboldened by the large turnout of Hispanic voters in last week's general election, US President Barack Obama said Wednesday he plans to move quickly to address what he has called the biggest failure of his first term - comprehensive immigration reform.
Before the election, I had given a couple of interviews where I predicted that the Latino vote was going to be strong and that that would cause some reflection on the part of Republicans about their position on immigration reform. I think we're starting to see that already, Obama said at his first press conference since winning re-election.
And my expectation is that we get a bill introduced and we begin the process in Congress very soon after my inauguration, he added.
The US presidential inauguration is in January, and Obama, a Democrat, said his staff and members of Congress are already beginning to have conversations about what this would look like. He added that he is very confident that we can get immigration reform done.
A legislative package would include strengthening border security, penalties for employers that hire undocumented workers, and an avenue for the millions of illegal immigrants already in the United States to gain citizenship, he said. According to the Pew Hispanic Center, there were 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the country in 2010.
In a frank moment during the campaign, Obama told Univision, the Spanish-language television network, that my biggest failure so far is we haven't gotten comprehensive immigration reform done.
Stymied by Congress in his attempts to address immigration, Obama issued an order in June allowing hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children to avoid deportation and obtain work permits. It was based on stalled legislation known as the DREAM Act.
Obama also said he would like Congress to put that order into law soon.
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