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Jon Greenberg
By Jon Greenberg October 16, 2012

Romney says Obama failed to offer the immigration bill he promised

In the second presidential debate, Mitt Romney focused on the commitments that President Obama failed to deliver on. In that list, he included immigration reform. Romney reminded the audience of what Obama had promised.

"He said in his first year he'd put out an immigration plan that would deal with our immigration challenges," Romney said. "Didn't even file it.""

This is one of the promises we’ve tracked in the Obamameter, and Romney is correct.

During the 2008 campaign, then-candidate Obama was interviewed by Univision's Jorge Ramos, a prominent voice within the Latin American community. During that interview, Obama said he would pursue immigration reform aggressively. "I cannot guarantee that it is going to be in the first 100 days," Obama said. "But what I can guarantee is that we will have in the first year an immigration bill that I strongly support and that I'm promoting. And I want to move that forward as quickly as possible."

In June 2009, he assigned Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to begin putting together a comprehensive immigration reform framework. Finally, in September 2009, he said that he anticipated "that before the year is out we will have draft legislation, along with sponsors potentially in the House and the Senate who are ready to move this forward, and when we come back next year, that we should be in a position to start acting."
But the year came to an end with no Obama-endorsed bill in sight. On December 15, 2009, Democratic Rep. Luis Gutierrez introduced a bill of his own, but a spokesman for the Center for Immigration Studies said that Obama administration has not promoted or publicly supported Gutierrez's bill.

Over the course of 2010, Obama continued to push for immigration reform in his speeches. He mentioned it in his State of the Union address and announced in March that Sens. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., finished working on a bipartisan framework "to fix our broken immigration system." That was followed by a release of a 26-page immigration reform proposal in April, which the president called a "a very important step."
Obama reiterated his call for bipartisan reform in a major speech at American University on July 1, 2010. "In recent days, the issue of immigration has become once more a source of fresh contention in our country, with the passage of a controversial law in Arizona and the heated reactions we’ve seen across America. Some have rallied behind this new policy. Others have protested and launched boycotts of the state. And everywhere, people have expressed frustration with a system that seems fundamentally broken," said Obama.
Obama promised to strongly support a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would be introduced during his first year in office. As president, he has repeatedly called for reform and several immigration-related bills are pending in Congress. But all that we've seen are proposals and frameworks, no actual bills.

Our ruling

Romney said that Obama promised to introduce a comprehensive immigration bill but never did.

Obama did make the promise in 2008 and while he talked about moving forward, he did not.

We rate the statement True.

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Romney says Obama failed to offer the immigration bill he promised

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