Latin America is probably one of the farthest things from President Barack Obama’s mind, but there are several — largely domestic — reasons why, during his second term, he may become the best U.S. president for the region in recent times.

Let’s start with the obvious: Obama doesn’t have a history of special interest in Latin America.

When I interviewed him for the first time in 2007, he had never set foot in the region. And during his first term, unlike most of his predecessors, he didn’t come up with any grand plan for Latin America — granted, he had to focus on resurrecting the U.S. economy — and instead stated that his top foreign policy priority is Asia’s Pacific rim.

Still, he may end up being great for Latin America, for reasons that have very little to do with Latin America.

First, there are better-than-even chances that — emboldened by his 71-27 victory margin among Latino voters in the 2012 elections — Obama will be able to pass an immigration reform plan that could legalize many of the estimated 11 million undocumented residents in the United States.

That would be a godsend to the economies of Mexico, Central America, the Caribbean, Colombia and Ecuador. Most experts agree that once undocumented workers get legal status, they get better jobs and can send more money to their relatives back home.

via Andres Oppenheimer: Obama may help Latin America – without trying – Andres Oppenheimer –