Obama on Immigration Reform: “I’m Fully Committed to Doing That”

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Speaking to the Des Moines Register, President Barack Obama discussed his record of accomplishments as well as his plans for a second term. "We need to get immigration reform done, and I'm fully committed to doing that," he noted. It is his goal to tackle immigration reform during the first year of his second term. How is the country's current immigration policy working?

What happened to President Obama's first election promise of immigration reform?

Then-candidate Obama promised to affect immigration reform during the first year of his presidency. The Washington Post notes that the administration admits to not following through on this campaign promise. "When we talked about immigration reform in the first year, that's before the economy was on the verge of collapse," the publication quotes the President. He also felt blindsided by Republicans who had previously championed immigration reform but then failed to lend their support to his measures.

How is the deferred action program working?

As noted by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), some illegal immigrants are eligible for the deferred action program, which benefits those who entered the United States illegally as children. Applicants must have crossed the border while under the age of 16; they may not be older than 30 years of age at the time the program took effect. Moreover, applicants must have lived continuously in the U.S., received their education here and not have been "convicted of a felony offense, a significant misdemeanor offense, multiple misdemeanor offenses" or otherwise be a threat to public safety.

As noted by the Hill, approximately 3,000 candidates apply for deferred action every day. Already the DHS has received approximately 200,000 applications, which also allow the applicant to receive a temporary work permit. While Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano acknowledges that the average processing time for an application is four months, she expects nevertheless that there will be an uptick in submitted documents after the election.

What are the latest numbers regarding illegal immigration from Mexico?

The Tomas Rivera Policy Institute notes that the recession-inspired dip in illegal immigration from Mexico is reversing. "In the first quarter of 2012, the survey registered an unauthorized flow 42 percent higher than in same quarter of 2011. The second quarter marked a year-over-year increase of 14 percent," the experts say. Explaining that the search for employment is the primary catalyst of illegal immigration, a recovering American economy will once again become an attractive draw for those seeking work.

Sylvia Cochran offers an insider's perspective of the American immigration system. Having gone through the steps of becoming a citizen -- and currently living in a border state -- she brings hands-on familiarity with hot-button issues to the table.

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