Obama Promises to Push for Immigration Reform and DREAM Act

President Obama says he is committed to revamping the nation's immigration policy and promises to once again push Congress to pass a law giving undocumented students a chance to legalize their status, according to people who met with him on Tuesday.

Obama had promised to make immigration reform an early priority, but his failure to deliver thus far has dismayed Hispanics and immigrant advocates.

Obama met at the White House with an array of people who want to see a new policy in place.

Los Angeles City Council President Eric Garcetti told reporters afterward that Obama made a compelling case for why he won't let the issue die. 

Garcetti said Obama also indicated that he would press for a vote a bill to help certain undocumented immigrants attain legal status if they attend college or serve in the military.

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A similar bill died in Congress last year.

Some 11 million undocumented immigrants are believed to be living in the United States

Many immigration advocacy groups say the United States must find a way to provide a path to legalization for undocumented immigrants who meet certain criteria while it tightens enforcement. But those on the other side of the debate want the focus to be enforcement, and consider any plan to offer a path to legalization "amnesty" that would encourage more illegal immigration. 

Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum, who attended the meeting, praised the president's move to hold the discussion at the White House, but urged him to do more.

“As a result of federal inaction, state legislatures have taken matters into their own hands," Noorani said. "Several considered or are considering extreme measures similar to Arizona’s immigration legislation. While most of these efforts have failed, too many have succeeded."

"Moving forward, the President should also convene key Democratic and Republican leaders to craft comprehensive immigration reform legislation," he said. "However, the President should not wait for Congressional leaders. He should introduce his own vision for reform and lay out a legislative strategy to get it done."

This story contains material from The Associated Press.

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